Huge victory for renters as Chancellor bans fees

There was some extra cash for "affordable" housing in Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement, but there was only really one big story from today:

The Government is going to ban letting fees!

This is a phenomenal achievement and the result of a tireless campaign over recent years by us, Shelter, Citizens Advice, the Debrief and local renter groups around the country.

Dozens of us investigated our local letting agents to build up the case for reform on www.lettingfees.co.uk. Thousands of us signed petitions and wrote to our MPs and the government listened.

At the same time, the decision feels like a bit of a no-brainer. Not only will the ban save renters money, it will become easier to move out of an unsuitable home and tenants will enjoy greater bargaining power with their landlord.

It will become easier to compare the cost of different properties, and because landlords will pay the agents’ costs, excessive charges will be eliminated.

In addition, your letting agent won’t have an incentive to try and replace you.

A ban on fees could reshape the rental market, but renting will remain insecure and expensive and we have many more changes we need to persuade the government to make. We also need to ensure the government follows through with its commitment – a consultation will launch in the New Year.

But what’s important is that today’s announcement is an example of what people power can achieve.

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Media coverage:

New Statesman (blog)

The Economist

CityMetric

Daily Telegraph

Reuters

On the announcement for new homes: The Guardian Buzzfeed

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