Now house hunting season has officially started Leeds University Union is sending an open letter to all landlords and letting agents in Leeds asking them to drop their letting fees.
So far, Leeds University Union have worked hard to get landlords to drop letting fees and will not promote any who continue to charge.
Students can meet landlords who are upfront fee-free at the House Hunting Fair on Monday 22 January in Riley Smith Theatre to help them get the best advice and home for them this next academic year.
George Bissett, Leeds University Union Community Officer said:
“It’s great to see that there are plenty of landlords in Leeds that have dropped these highly unnecessary letting fees, which could leave students paying up to £200 each to sign a contract. Unfortunately, many landlords and letting agents in Leeds still dump heinous charges onto the students, so we’ve written this open letter to urge others to stop charging students.”
Landlords sometimes charge letting fees for things such as admin costs or holding a contract fee. These fees are additional to rent and a deposit, and are not recovered at the end of tenancy, unlike a deposit.
You can read the open letter below, which we are circulating to all Leeds landlords and letting agents who do charge upfront fees:
Dear landlords and letting agents of Leeds,
Happy New Year,
I am writing to you with regards to the impending Tenants’ Fees Bill that was announced in the Queen’s Speech 2017. The Bill will bring forward proposals to:
- ban landlords and agents from requiring tenants to make any payments as a condition of their tenancy with the exception of the rent, a capped refundable security deposit, a capped refundable holding deposit and tenant default fees
- cap holding deposits at no more than one week’s rent and security deposits at no more than one month’s rent
Plans to ban letting fees were first announced by the government in the 2016 Autumn Statement with the aim of making housing more affordable for everyone. Upfront fees are widely recognised as being unfair by many, including the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid MP. They act as a barrier between potential tenants and housing; research by Citizen’s Advice found that 42% of people paying letting agents’ fees had to borrow money to pay them. In the Government’s own words:
The ban will make renting fairer and easier for tenants by allowing them to see upfront what a given property will cost them – the rent that is advertised will be what you are expected to pay, nothing more.
Prior to the government’s announcement of their abolishment, Leeds University Union already decided that upfront fees constituted a barrier to student’s ability to both access and afford housing. This is why we have worked collaboratively and diligently, to encourage letting agencies and Landlords in Leeds to remove their signing fees. Last year, we banned agencies that still charge fees from our housing fair and for sponsoring societies in the Union.
This is why I am calling all landlords and letting agents in Leeds that still charge letting fees to pledge that they will drop all and any upfront fees for the 2018/19 season and beyond. I believe that we are at a critical turning point in which all stakeholders, including the Government, have to work collaboratively to increase access to housing. Therefore, I am pleading with you to kindly consider taking urgent and voluntary action to increase access to housing: by dropping your letting fees without waiting for government legislation.
This letter is intended to be an open invitation for further discussion and I hope that we can work collaboratively on this issue to ensure that both Landlords/Letting Agents and students in Leeds can benefit from a mutual partnership. It is our desire at the Student Union to ensure that students love their time at Leeds, which involves having access to suitable accommodation.
I look forward to, as I hope you do, being a part of this conversation between the students and landlords of Leeds.
Leeds University Union