Oxford

The news is out today that the proposed tenancy fees ban is going to be delayed until at least the Spring of 2019, with some in the industry suggesting that this marks the beginning of the end of the ‘mad notion’ of banning tenancy fees. Already today, some fellow agents have been asking us if we regret our decision to not charge tenants fees.

The answer is: no, of course we don’t. This news was hardly surprising for anyone who reads the industry press further than the headline, and our decision about whether we charge tenants fees or not wasn't a question of economics, it was a question of ethics.

So just to be clear: We – Do – Not – Agree – With – Charging – Tenants – Fees… Yes, we know we could make more money by charging extra fees to tenants... we just don't want to! It is in our ethos as a firm. 

The Chancellor, in his Autumn Fudge-It, has decreed that, with immediate effect, first time buyers will pay no stamp duty on properties up to £300,000. So, good news you lucky things... you can now afford that one bedroom flat in Oxford that you have always dreamed of. Right?

OK, I admit to being a little facetious here. My comment above isn't to disparage anybody's one bedroom flat, nor anybody's aspirations to own one. It is intended to give us pause for thought, to help us see past the headline, to try to bring us back down to Earth and remind us that we are still in this incredible situation where, across so much of Oxford, a £300,000 budget barely gets us onto the ladder. Who cares about the saved stamp duty, really? Stamp Duty can be a problem, no doubt; but it is still a drop compared to the deposits that our young people need to save in order to go for that first mortgage. I care more about how first time buyers can afford to save those deposits, especially when it's nigh on impossible to rent even a single room in the city for much less than £500 a month - add on everything else that life costs, how can anyone afford to save anything? Not everyone is lucky enough to have parents willing or, ultimately, able to lend a helping hand to contribute towards (or even 100% fund) their deposit, and that is creating an increasingly uneven playing field, and an unfair market place.

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