Housing / Politics

Letting fee ban underway

14:00 pm on 6 April 2018

Moving rental accommodation can cost a huge amount. Up to four weeks of rent in bond, two weeks rent in advance, and another week of rent paid as a letting fee. That's as much as seven weeks rent before you step through the front door, which the Government says is an unfair barrier to the needy.

To combat this, the Government has shepherded a bill through it's first stage this week that would eliminate one of those weeks worth of rent - the letting fee.

Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Phil Twyford Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

"The first thing to say about letting fees is that they are unfair, and they have no economic rationale." - Phil Twyford

This proposed change is not to the liking of the opposition, who say that the costs of renting properties will remain and will get passed on in other ways, probably in rental increases. This, said National's Simon O'Connor, was "human nature".

Labour argues that when Scotland did something similar it did not have an impact on rents. National's Maureen Pugh argued that the Bill was the Government trying to manipulate an existing business model.

The Bill to prohibit letting fees passed it's first reading and will now go the Social Services and Community Select Committee to hear evidence from the public.