My right hon. Friend is right to raise concerns about the quality of service provided by some managing agents. That is why we are introduced legislation to ensure that property management agents belong to an approved redress scheme.
I am working with constituents who, despite a number of complaints about management services on a relatively newly built estate, find that the management agents are not prepared to meet them as a group. They find that their local parish council has discontinued contact with the management agents, and the management agents have not held an annual general meeting, as they promised in their agreement. If this is in any way familiar to my hon. Friend, will he tell me what more my constituents can do to redress the balance of power between themselves and the people who seem to have them over a barrel?
Sadly, the situation that my right hon. Friend describes is familiar, and something that he has raised before. The Government are looking to address it. Although there are existing legal powers, we are exploring whether further changes are required to address this problem.
To speak with exemplary brevity, I feel sure, I call Mr Andrew Slaughter.
Thank you for squeezing me in, Mr Speaker.
Speaking of regulation, the Housing Minister thought two months ago that Labour’s ban on letting fees was a bad idea. Does he agree that, if we want security and affordability in the housing market, he should, in addition to signing up to that ban, sign up to Labour’s other manifesto promises—three-year tenancies and control of inflationary rent increases in the private sector?
The hon. Gentleman can now breathe.
It certainly would be good to see longer tenancies in the private rented sector, but in terms of regulating to force all private landlords to let for longer periods and to introduce rent controls, we have only to look at the record in our own country and around the world to see what the result of such policies would be: a smaller private rented sector, which would make our housing problems worse.