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Private rented sector in Dulwich and West Norwood

Volume 614: debated on Thursday 8 September 2016

The petition of Alper Muduroglu,

Declares that tenants in the private rented sector in Dulwich and West Norwood have to pay high fees to letting agents; further that there is no limit to the amount lettings agents can charge; further that the Government should take action to address the difficulties faced by tenants in the private rented sector, particularly in London; and notes that an online petition on a similar matter has been signed by 1,480 individuals.

The petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons urges the Government to consider capping the fees that letting agents are permitted to charge.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Helen Hayes , Official Report, 28 June 2016; Vol. 612, c. 268 .]


Observations from The Minister for Housing and Planning (Gavin Barwell):

The Government are committed to raising standards in this industry. They believe that ensuring full transparency is the best way to do so, giving consumers the information they need so that they do not pay unfair fees, while supporting good letting agents.

Since 1 October 2014, all lettings agents and property managers in England have been required to join one of the three Government approved redress schemes. This requirement means that tenants and landlords with agents in the private rented sector and leaseholders and freeholders dealing with property managers in the residential sector are able to complain to an independent person about the service they have received, helping to weed out bad agents and property managers and drive up standards.

Since May 2015, letting agents are required to publicise a full tariff of their fees, whether or not they are a member of a client money protection scheme and which redress scheme they are a member of. This information must be displayed prominently in their offices and on their website. A fine of up to £5,000 can be levied against agents who fail to comply. A breakdown of fees enables tenants to compare prices and assess value for money, creating effective competition that should force agents to keep fees fair and strengthening consumer choice. The Government’s view is that with these measures the balance of regulation for letting agents is about right. However, the Government are committed to review their effectiveness and have established a working group with Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town and Lord Palmer of Childs Hill to look at how client money protection is currently operating and whether to do further by making use of the powers in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to make it mandatory. If you would like to contribute your views to this, further details can be found here:

The Government are committed to creating a bigger and better private rented sector, which is easily accessible to current and prospective tenants. We have set up the Private Rented Sector Affordability and Security working group which includes experts from across the PRS and housing sectors to explore options to reduce costs for tenants who access and move within the sector.

The Government have also introduced a package of measures through the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to crackdown on unscrupulous landlords and property agents who exploit their tenants by renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation. This includes a database of rogue landlords and property agents, banning orders for the most prolific and serious offenders, civil penalties of up to £30,000, extended rent repayment orders and a more stringent ‘fit and proper’ person test for landlords applying for a licence. In addition the Government are determined to crack down on landlords who deliberately overcrowd their properties with vulnerable people and illegal migrants by extending mandatory licensing for houses in multiple occupation.