By Aaron Hurst – News Editor
On the 23rd November, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his first ever Autumn Statement that administration fees charged by estate and letting agents across the country were to be banned ‘as soon as possible.’
During what was announced to be Chancellor Hammond’s last Autumn Statement as he is abolishing it altogether, he declared letting agent fees as ‘wrong’, before stating that ‘landlords should meet their fees.’
This announcement is bound to be welcomed by students here at Hertfordshire who live in private accommodation off campus; as it stands, Hatfield estate agents Strats charged agency fees ranging from £150-200, with renewal fees being between £100-125. These are paid in advance before tenants begin their contracts. Although the fees charged by Strats are well below the annual average of £340, students here will, as ever, still be grateful for a bolstered bank balance.
However, not everyone believes that this is a good idea. Housing Minister Gavin Barwell MP tweeted back in September that ‘landlords would pass cost to tenants via rent’. This idea is being branded by many as the ‘boomerang effect’.
Furthermore, the managing director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, David Cox, has stated that the ban ‘will have a profoundly negative effect on the rental market,’ commenting that the ban was ‘the fourth assault on the sector in just over a year.’
Whether or not rent will indeed increase as a result of the ban on letting agent fees remains to be seen, but for now, students here at Hertfordshire will want to make the most of any news that means that they save money.