Posts with tag: House of Lords

Renters’ Rights Bill continues progress through Lords

Published On: November 21, 2016 at 10:49 am

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The Renters’ Rights Bill made more progress in the House of Lords last Friday. The Bill, which proposes changes to the charges letting agents are able to levy on tenants, now goes on to the Report Stage at a later date.

Amendments

During last week’s committee stage, proposer of the Bill, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Grender, made amendments to her legislation.

Grender decided to make these changes as she felt the terminology used in the original document, ‘would leave too many options for newly named fees to be charged.’[1]

As opposed to specifying named fees to be banned, the amended Renters’ Right’s Bill now, ‘Bans all fees to the tenant from the letting agency and specifies that charging a fee to a tenant would be an offence.’[1]

There does however remain a sub-section in the proposal allowing the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to make an exemption. This is so that should evidence emerge of services in respect of which there is value to the tenant in charging fees, it could be done.

Best interests

Grender informed peers that she, ‘does not anticipate any such fees but my new amendment allows for the possibility, if concrete evidence was indeed found that a fee for specific service would be in the best interest of the tenant in some way.’[1]

Despite general support, not everyone present agreed with all elements of the Bill.

Renters' Rights Bill continues progress through Lords

Renters’ Rights Bill continues progress through Lords

Baroness Gardner of Parkes observed: ‘If the noble Baroness, Lady Grender, believes that people will simply reduce their rents, it is unrealistic. When she talks about how much rents have gone up, that is nothing compared to how much property has gone up.’[1]

Addressing other measures of the Bill, such as the mandatory registration of landlords and limits on deposits, Gardner said: ‘“I thoroughly approve of the idea that you should have access to a register of rogue landlords and all that, but it is unrealistic to imagine that this list of things which the noble Baroness has set out in detail will suddenly become inexpensive or vanish.’[1]

Responding, Grender noted: ‘There are good lettings agents out there who are members of government-accredited redress schemes and pursue best practice. They should continue to charge a fee for the work that they do but the fee should be from the landlord, who can shop around and choose which lettings agency to use. Landlords can decide to use the decent, regulated ones.’[1]

[1] https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/11/renters-rights-bill–anti-fees-measure-continues-through-lords

 

Renters’ Rights Bill to be debated tomorrow

Published On: November 17, 2016 at 10:59 am

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Fees able to be charged by letting agents will be discussed tomorrow in the House of Lords, as the Renters’ Rights Bill takes stage in the upper house.

The proposal was put forwards as a Private Members Bill by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Grender, but is unlikely to become law outright. However, Private Members’ Bills have a record of highlighting features that are later put into legislation.

Scrapping of fees

Grender’s measure outlines the scrapping of agents’ fees for tenants. It calls for an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, to stop agents in England by charging both existing tenants or prospective tenants.

She calls for no charges to tenants for registering, administration, inventories or reference checks, alongside free renewal or exit fees.

In addition, Baroness Grender has called for the mandatory registration of landlords and caps of the size of deposits. What’s more, the proposals request an automatic ban for any agent or landlord named on a ‘rogue operator’ database from being given a HMO licence.

Renters' Rights Bill to be debated tomorrow

Renters’ Rights Bill to be debated tomorrow

Support

Last time the measure was debated in the House of Lords, it received substantial all-party backing. At this debate in June, Baroness Grender told the Lords that consumer protection for private sector tenants was less developed than in other commercial activities.

Grender observed that renters are, ‘often at the mercy of landlords and lettings agents.’[1]

‘It’s time for the Government intervention to address this imbalance of power and build up the consumer rights of renters….Letting agents should not be able to get away with double charging fees, imposing them on both tenants and landlords, when in fact it is only the landlord that is the client,’ she added.[1]

[1] https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/11/letting-agents-fees-to-be-discussed-in-house-of-lords-tomorrow