Lib Dem president leads bid to protect PRS tenants from unscrupulous letting agents
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing
The president of the Liberal Democrats is calling for the government to do more to protect tenants in the private rented sector from unscrupulous letting agents.
Tim Farron, MP for South Lakes, is a co-sponsor of a bill to deal with the issue in Parliament today under the so-called 10 Minute Rule.
The bill seeks to extend the powers of the Independent Housing Ombudsman, which currently only deals with complaints from social housing tenants against their landlord, but carries out spot checks on private landlords.
Across the country, tenants face exorbitant charges imposed by letting agents to prepare or renew contracts, perform credit checks, or carry out other admin costs.
According to research carried out by Rentify last year, some letting agents fleece tenants with fees of up to £600.
Farron will ask the government to ban exorbitant fees, undertake a review of the law as it applies to the PRS and make it easier for councils to set up landlord and property accreditation schemes. He will also call for a housing ombudsman service to be set up to deal with tenants' complaints.
The Lib Dem said: “I am very concerned that some tenants are being charged excessive amounts for the standard process of letting a flat, or for the repair or replacement of fixtures and fittings.”
“There is no overarching regulation of the private housing sector and I am worried that tenants are at the mercy of unscrupulous agencies which see tenancies as a way of making extra money over and above the standard charges.”
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