A petition protest calling for a tenant fee cap rather than an outright ban has been rejected by the government.

The online petition was signed by 10,371 people – mostly letting agents – but failed to gain any favour from ministers.

A spokesman confirmed that the draft Tenants Fee Bill would proceed as planned.

The bill aims to switch the focus for letting agents away from tenants, instead making landlords their primary customers.

“Government is committed to banning tenant fees to deliver a fairer lettings market where tenants have greater clarity over what they pay, and the landlord is the primary customer of the agent,” the online petition response explains.

“The government recognises the valuable service that good letting agents provide to both landlords and tenants in ensuring that properties are safe, compliant and professionally managed. We are keen to see all tenants receiving a good and affordable service.

“A ban on letting fees paid by tenants will improve transparency and affordability for renters – letting fees are currently not clearly or consistently explained with the result that many tenants are unaware of the true costs of renting a property.”

The petition called for an agreed tenant fee cap to curb the excessive charges of some letting agents.

Rob Farrelly, who runs a letting agent in Essex, initiated the petition.

“At no point does this response consider that a fee cap would be a fair and just solution nor do they make any attempt to explain as to why it would not be a fair and just solution –  instead admitting that enforcing a complete ban is an easier option for them,” he said.

“It seems the giants in the industry have bowed down to the legislation even though this is still a draft and given up entirely to the idea of a fee cap as opposed to a complete ban.”