Property News

Government Backs Rip-Off Letting Agents

Em Morley - November 27, 2014

Generation Rent, the campaign group for the rights of renters, says that the Government are favouring letting agents that regularly rip-off tenants.

The organisation says that the Government have voted against private renters, who are “charged extortionate fees by letting agents, get evicted for complaining about conditions in their home, and have their money unprotected in the event a letting agent goes bust.”1

Government Backs Rip-Off Letting Agents

Government Backs Rip-Off Letting Agents

This week, the House of Lords discussed the Consumer Rights Bill during the Report Stage. Amendments to the Bill were overturned by a vote. These changes included requiring letting agents to insure rent money on behalf of landlords, banning letting agent fees to tenants, and banning the eviction of tenants whose complaints are supported by the local authority.

Labour’s Baroness Hayter’s Amendment 44 for mandatory client protection was defeated by 168 votes to 123. Amendment 44ZA for the protection of tenants was overturned by 156 votes to 113.

Government minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe announced amendments that require letting agents to display their membership to a client money protection scheme, and redress schemes.

The problem of revenge evictions will be discussed again in the Commons, when Sarah Teather MP’s Private Member’s Bill, the Tenancies (Reform) Bill is considered.

Private renters campaigned in Westminster to pressure MPs to attend the vote, which will be conducted outside the ordinary Parliamentary schedule.

Director at Generation Rent, Alex Hilton, says: “By voting down a ban on letting fees, the Government has told the country’s nine million private renters that the profitability of letting agents is more important than their consumer rights. The Government’s answer is transparency, but that’s no answer at all. Tenants don’t get to choose the agent so they can’t negotiate down fees.

“Revenge evictions can still be banned with a vote in the Commons on Friday, but renters need as many MPs as possible to show up to ensure that the Bill is passed.”1