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MPs urged to ban letting agent fees in coming bill

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MPs urged to ban letting agent fees in coming bill

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Regulation

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A campaign group has urged MPs to support a ban on letting agent fees in the coming Consumer Rights Bill.

With the vote due on Tuesday next week, Labour is tabling an amendment to the legislation that will forbid letting agents from charging "spurious" fees to renters.

Private renters often find themselves hit with charges supposedly covering administration, inventory, references, guarantors, deposit protection, maintenance charges and credit checks.

According to campaigner group Generation Rent, letting agents frequently find other excuses to charge more fees, for example when someone moves in or out of a shared house or at the end of a tenancy.

Not only are the fees extortionate but a ComRes poll in March found that 30% of renters had been charged unexpected "surprise" fees by a landlord or letting agent.

A survey last October found that nearly 25% of London letting agents charge over £300 in administration fees, with the most expensive agent charging £600 in East Ham.

Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent, said: “For years letting agents have been inventing innovative ways of rinsing money from renters. Not only do they clamp themselves leech-like to tenants, but they often also provide a very poor service to landlords.”

Generation Rent, the operating name of the National Private Tenants Organisation, is campaigning for professionally managed, secure, decent and affordable, privately rented homes in sustainable communities.

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