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Welsh Equalities Committee continues fees bill scrutiny

Wednesday 15 August 2018

The Welsh Assembly’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee will be continuing to take evidence sessions after Summer Recess. The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill was introduced by the Welsh Government on 11 June this year.

ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive David Cox provided evidence to the Committee in early July, and the evidence sessions for the Bill are still ongoing. Most recently, Assembly Member’s heard evidence from renter pressure groups and Citizens Advice.

The Bill sets out the Welsh Government’s intention to ban letting agency fees, something that’s already not allowed in Scotland and is on its way through the UK Parliament too.

The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill will: 

  • ban tenants from being charged for an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory, signing a contract, or renewing a tenancy;
  • allow letting agents and landlords to only charge fees relating to rent, security deposits, holding deposits, or when a tenant breaches a contract;
  • provide a regulation-making power to limit the level of security deposits;
  • cap holding deposits to the equivalent of one week’s rent;
  • create a clear, simple and robust enforcement regime for when offences occur.

The enforcement regime will allow for Fixed Penalty Notices to be issued against anyone requiring a banned payment. If penalties are not paid, Local Housing Authorities can prosecute offences through the Magistrates Court.

Convictions for an offence could result in an unlimited fine and will be taken into account by Rent Smart Wales when considering whether to grant or renew a licence.

We’ll continue our dialogue with the Welsh Government to ensure they understand the consequences of what ban will entail and how it will negatively impact all those involved in the private rented sector. 

We submitted written evidence prior to David giving oral evidence, and you can watch David’s most recent evidence session here.

What can you do?
If like us, you are concerned about the impact on rents and the ability for the most vulnerable tenants to access the rented property then get in touch with your Assembly Member and tell them why.

Additional resources
ARLA Propertymark has provided members with a new Fact Sheet specific to the Bill in the Member’s Area.

David also appeared in a live Rightmove webinar on 16 August to give an update on the letting fees ban in Wales and answer questions from agents. Don't worry if you missed it as it is now available to watch at your leisure on the Rightmove Hub. If you're not already registered, you'll need to create an account first. 

Watch the webinar

If it’s passed by the Welsh Assembly, the Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent in Spring 2019.