MP Julian Huppert, who has been lobbying for a fairer deal for private rental tenants, has welcomed a government move demanding letting agents publish a full tariff of their fees.
Julian, who is worried that tenants and prospective tenants are facing exorbitant fees from some agents, claims the move is a step in the right direction to getting a fairer deal.
He tabled a Private Member’s Bill in the Commons to tackle the problem of excessive letting fees, calling for a review of the law as it applies to the private rented sector.
“It’s good to see the government is taking these concerns seriously,” said Julian. ”There is no overarching regulation of the private rental sector and I am worried that some unscrupulous agents are taking advantage of the situation to charge exorbitant fees.
“The huge demand for rental properties in Cambridge leaves people vulnerable to being exploited in this way. I hope that this move to force agents to be open and transparent about their charges in the first step to a complete overhaul of the law covering the private rental sector. I would like to go further and end exorbitant fees altogether, but this is a move in the right direction.”
Agents will be required to publish a full tariff of their fees on their websites and prominently in their offices. Anyone who fails to comply with the new rules will face a fine – a much stricter penalty than currently exists.
In a letter to Julian, Housing Minister, Kris Hopkins added that the move was part of the government’s wider work to bring fairness to the system. The government is making sure that the country’s nine million private rented sector tenants have the knowledge to hold their landlords to account without introducing excessive regulation that would for up rents and reduce choice, he said.
The government is working with industry to:
- develop a code of practice for the management of residential property;
- introducing regulations to force the remaining 3,000 letting agents and property management agents to join one of the three approved redress schemes;
- developing a Model Tenancy Agreement, including clauses that can be used for longer, family-friendly tenancies;
- undertaking a review of property conditions to ensure tenants are satisfied their homes are safe and healthy.
A new guide How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England is available online at www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent
Julian added: “I will be keeping up the pressure to make sure that the new regulations are enforced so that letting agents are in no doubt that those who see the private rental sector as a licence to make easy money are held to account.”