Rebecca Evans, Minister for Housing and Regeneration
The Welsh Government is taking action to make a real difference to people in Wales, their families and their communities. The government’s housing priorities are clear: more homes, better quality homes and better housing-related services.
The Welsh Government recognises the important role of the Private Rented Sector, alongside social housing and home ownership, in meeting the housing needs of people in Wales. We are committed to removing the barriers for tenants to enter and move within the Private Rented Sector. Our current legislation and the proposed Bill to address fees charged to tenants when entering into a tenancy will improve the accessibility and affordability of those homes. We continue to develop and deliver housing legislation that helps ensure we are providing a firm foundation to support the delivery of good quality, secure and affordable homes.
On 30 November 2017, I informed Assembly Members of the Welsh Government’s commitment to legislate on fees charged to tenants. A consultation launched on 19 July 2017 and ended on 27 September 2017. The results highlighted broad support for a ban on fees to tenants, consistent with the growing body of evidence showing the difficulties these fees present many current, or would-be tenants.
The analysis of the consultation is now complete, and I am today publishing a summary of the responses. Key messages were:
- 56% of all respondents agreed with an outright ban on fees
- When fees are charged, tenants say that, on average, they are charged £249.47 to begin a tenancy, £108 to renew a tenancy and £142 at the end of a tenancy
- 62% of tenants said that fees have affected their ability to move into a rented property, while 86% say that fees have affected their decision to use an agent
- 61% of landlords did not know what their tenants were charged by their agent.
These findings clearly support our proposals to ban fees charged to tenants, and further add to the evidence base that such fees make the Private Rented Sector unaffordable and inaccessible for a substantial number of tenants.
I will shortly bring forward legislation to ban all payments required of tenants in the Private Rented sector, with limited exceptions stated on the face of the Bill. Anyone requiring a banned payment as part of the tenancy will be committing an offence.
It will be important that the ban on fees to tenants is enforced. Consequently, any person charging a prohibited payment will be subject to enforcement action.
The summary of consultation responses is available at: beta.gov.wales/fees-charged-tenants-private-rented-sector