The Welsh Government has published its very own consultation on fees charged to tenants in the private rented sector.
Following on the heels of the government in Westminster, the consultation seeks to determine which fees, if any, are justifiably being charged to tenants. It also seeks information on fees paid by landlords to agents, and also on the possible consequences of banning fees.
A similar exercise in England received approximately 4,700 responses, despite being interrupted by a thoroughly inconvenient general election, so it is likely that this Welsh specific effort will attract a fair amount of attention from landlords and letting agents operating in the Principality.
It is not yet known if the Welsh Government will go as far, especially in light of their Rent Smart Wales scheme already charging landlords and agents a premium to operate their businesses in Wales.
Explaining the decision, the consultation states:
The Welsh Government believes many of the fees charged to tenants to be unjustified and arbitrary. Fees can act as a barrier to privately-rented housing. In the long run, a failure to address this issue risks making the Private Rented Sector unaffordable for some people. Together with a ban on letting agents’ fees, we propose to include a ban on fees charged to tenants by landlords and third parties.
Redressing this imbalance and addressing charges will incentivise agents to provide competitive services to attract landlords. It will also provide prospective tenants with a level playing field where they can search for potential homes with the knowledge that they will not face additional fees and charges in order to secure the property and compare on a like-for-like basis across agents.
Letting agents with businesses or branches in Wales are encouraged to respond to the consultation, which is available online here: