Ex-housing minister in fresh bid to regulate letting agents

A former Labour housing minister is due to introduce a ten minute rule motion in the Commons today proposing the mandatory licensing of letting and managing agents.

John Healey was one of the previous government’s many housing ministers, holding the post between 2009 and 2010.

Earlier this month, he spoke against the Government’s amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which will pave the way for further legislation to make all letting agents join an ombudsman scheme. Healey said this did not go far enough.

Today’s ten minute rule motion is headed “Letting agents (competition, choice and standards)”, and reads:

“That leave be given to bring in a Bill to establish a national mandatory licensing scheme for letting and managing agents, with established standards and redress for landlords and tenants, and prohibition of certain letting and management agent fees; to enable local authorities to administer and enforce the scheme; and to empower local authorities, either alone or in partnership, to trade as letting and managing agents.”

Bills introduced under the ten minute rule system very rarely make progress. However, Labour has made it clear that it would regulate private landlords and take action on letting agents’ fees if it comes to power.

In its Alternative Queen’s Speech, published yesterday, Labour said it would introduce legislation to create a national register of landlords and give local councils power to ban bad landlords. Longer-term tenancies would also be created.

According to shadow housing minister Jack Dromey, the measures would include a “Bill to tackle rogue landlords and letting agent rip-off fees to protect the 8.6 million private tenants”.

The real Queen’s Speech is due to be delivered on May 8.

Article courtesy of LettingAgentToday

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