Ex-housing minister says tenants’ charter will not end fees ‘scandal’

A former Labour housing minister has attacked the tenants’ charter proposed by Eric Pickles.

John Healey says that it will not stop the “scandal” of “rip-off fees” charged to tenants, and will continue to give “free rein to rogue letting and managing agents”.

Healey says that Pickles’s plans for a model tenancy agreement and a tenants’ charter are toothless.

He said: “Absolutely anyone can set up as a letting or managing agent. There are no rules on agents, so people are often hit by up-front fees and no rights for tenants, not even the right to a written tenancy agreement.

“No voluntary measures can correct this market malpractice. Regulation is required to make the market work more fairly, efficiently and transparently.

“That is why I have put a Bill before Parliament to stop the scandal of rip-off fees and sharp practice by letting agents in the private rented sector.

“We know that the average upfront fee that agents charge tenants is now £350 on top of rent and deposit, and that complaints to the property ombudsman about letting agents last year were up 50% when compared with just four years ago.”

Healey’s Bill is called the Letting Agents (Competition, Choices and Standards) Bill 2013-2014. It is due to have a second reading next week on October 18. However, it was introduced as a Ten Minute Rule Bill and these often make no progress.

The Bill sets out to establish a mandatory licensing scheme for letting and managing agents, and to ban fees.

Also next week, on October 15, another private members’ Bill is due to have a reading.

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn also wants regulation of letting agents, and to outlaw discrimination by landlords against tenants on benefits.

Article courtesy of Letting Agent Today

RentPro cloud based property management software for letting agents and landlords.

You may also like...