Agent tenants’ fee ban
The ban was announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement – taking many in the industry by surprise.
But with the Tories pledging to support those ‘just about managing’, – Theresa May’s JAMs – and desperate for a share of the youth vote it is perhaps unsurprising. The government said the proposed ban will “stop hidden charges and end tenants being hit by costly upfront payments that can be difficult to afford”.
It also says that the move will bring an end to the small minority of agents exploiting their role between renters and landlords, banish unfair charges and stop those agents that double charge tenants and property owners for the same service.
ARLA branded the move ‘draconian’, however with a report from Citizens Advice last year showing tenant referencing fees in Oxford ranged from £15 up to £360 and a ‘mystery shopping’ exercise in Wales showing the highest fee was 12 times the lowest, there is clearly an issue.
There is an argument that landlords will now have the opportunity to ‘shop around’ – which will force agents to be more competitive.
University students can claim a refund on their TV licence if they are moving back home this summer.
Those who purchased a TV Licence at the start of the academic year (September or October) will have a full three months remaining on their licence if they move out in July, and a refund, worth £36, can be claimed for this unused quarter.
To be eligible, students need to have a TV Licence with three months remaining on it, and be leaving their halls or rented accommodation and moving to another licensed address. Students can apply for their refund online (tvlicensing.co.uk/students) or over the phone (0300 790 6113).
It’s not just students – anyone can apply for refund for any full unused quarters on the TV licence if it is no longer needed.
The cost of a TV Licence is currently £145.50, and this fee is frozen until March 2017.
The future of the licence fee is under threat following David Cameron’s decision to appoint John Whittingdale, one of the BBC’s biggest critics, as Culture Secretary in the Conservative cabinet. In the past, Mr Whittingdale has dubbed the fee “worse than a poll tax” and ultimately “unsustainable.”