Wera Hobhouse has come out in support of the ban on letting fees charged to tenants, proposed by the government.
She said: “Having attended the debate in Parliament, it is clear that some unscrupulous agents are shamelessly ripping off tenants. The government is right to end this appalling practice.”
Letting agents are required by law to undertake referencing checks, and have been passing on the cost of these to the prospective tenant, even though their customer is the landlord. There has been a ban in place in Scotland, and research would suggest that agents and landlords have simply absorbed the costs.
“One in three renters think that they have paid excessive fees, and there are stories from around the country of people paying over £1000 in fees, and of agents charging both the landlord and the tenant for the same fees. Fees can act as a barrier to renting for the most vulnerable, including the low paid and students, and also to those wanting to move from poor quality housing.
A blanket ban on fees means a transparent market place for tenants that they will easily understand and be able to enforce themselves. Clearly there are some vested interests who will object, suggesting rent rises and agents going bust, but the evidence from Scotland is clear, rent rises by landlords have been no different than in the rest of the UK, and the number of management and letting agents has stayed roughly the same. What we need now is for the government to announce when it will bring forward legislation.”