New housing minister confirms lettings ban
The new Housing Minister in the UK has confirmed that the policies set out in the Government's White Paper published back in March will be implemented.
MP Alok Sharma delivered his first major speech to the industry at a RESI Conference last week after replacing Gavin Barwell after the snap general election.
He confirmed that the lettings ban was going to happen and also ruled out rent controls.
He said: “The Government also wants to see all tenants receiving a good, fair and affordable service from landlords and letting agents.
“So we will publish a Bill to ban letting fees paid by tenants in England. I know many of you in the build to rent sector do not charge upfront fees to your customers.
“But a ban will help to deliver a more competitive, more affordable and more transparent lettings market across the rest of the sector."
He referred to rent controls, pledging: “Let me be absolutely clear, under this Government rent controls are not going to happen.”
New legislation due to come into force in Scotland in December gives councils the power to designate areas where rents in the private rented sector have soared as rent pressure zone and to cap rises at inflation plus 1 per cent.
The latest lettings index published from HomeLet shows that average rents across the UK rose by 2.4 per cent in the year to August compared to the same month a year ago, the highest rate of annual inflation since November 2016.
And rents in London increased by 2.5 per cent year on year to £1,609, taking them above £1,600 for the first time.
It remains unclear whether the recent strengthening in rents is driven by more robust demand or by some restriction of supply.