MP welcomes move to force letting agents to publish fees
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Regulation
Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has welcomed the government's decision to force letting agents to publish full tariffs of their fees.
The South Lakes MP, who has lobbied for a fairer deal for tenants in the private rented sector, claims that the move is a "step in the right direction".
Farron, the Lib Dems president, and colleagues such as Julian Huppert MP previously tabled a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons to tackle the problem of excessive letting fees, calling for a review of the law as it applies to the PRS.
Farron said: “It’s good to see the government is taking these concerns seriously. There is no overarching regulation of the PRS and I am worried that some unscrupulous agents are taking advantage of the situation to charge exorbitant fees.
“The huge demand for rental properties throughout the UK 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. The government needs to look at taking much more robust action, but this is a move in the right direction.”
Under the new rules, letting agents will be required to publish a full tariff of their fees on their websites and prominently in their offices. Those who fail to comply will face a fine – a much stricter penalty than currently exists.
The government is currently working with the PRS to:
• Develop a code of practice for the management of residential property.
• Introduce regulations to force the remaining 3,000 letting agents and property management agents to join one of the three approved redress schemes.
• Develop a model tenancy agreement, including clauses that can be used for longer, family-friendly tenancies.
• Undertake a review of property conditions to ensure tenants are satisfied their homes are safe and healthy.
Farron 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.”