SAFEagent backs call for debate on letting agent fees

SAFEagent, the kitemark scheme for agents offering Client Money Protection, has backed the Safeagent Scheme’s (Safeagent) call for a debate on letting agents’ fees.

Yesterday, Safeagent said a cap on tenant fees would represent an appropriate way of limiting excessive charges, rather than a blanket ban.

John Midgley, chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, has praised Safeagent for opening the debate on letting agent fees, describing the organisation’s suggestion of a cap as ‘sensible’.

“SAFEagent exists to help protect and support the consumer, and anything that helps make renting fairer can only be a positive thing,” says Midgley.

“We’ll be getting involved with discussions on capping fees, and we urge others to do the same.”

Safeagent chief executive Isobel Thomson has urged the industry to speak with one voice and offer the government a solution to the problem instead of sleepwalking into a blanket ban on fees.

Earlier this week, Citizens Advice reported that it advised on 6,500 problems with letting agents between July 2015 and June this year, up 14% from the 5,700 problems reported two years ago.

The charity said it had seen a sharp rise in problems among the 17-24 age group.

It went on to add to its support for calls to ban letting agency fees charged to tenants, suggesting that landlords should be charged as they are in a better position to ‘shop around’ and choose which firm they want to work with.