Ministers are unlikely to ban on fees

Government

Government

Ministers are unlikely to act on Shelter’s call for letting agent fees aimed at tenants to be banned. Baroness Hanham, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, has made it clear that the Government would not support a ban for fears that it would drive up rents.

She was replying to a question from Lib Dem peer Lord Greaves.

The full exchange is as follows:

Lord Greaves: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Shelter report, Letting agencies: the price you pay.”

Baroness Hanham: “We welcome Shelter’s contribution to the debate. But remain unconvinced that increased regulation is the answer. So we do not support a blanket ban on fees to tenants, especially as this is likely to drive up the cost of rents.

However, it is agreed that we need to take action to drive up standards in the private rented sector. We are already changing the law to require all letting and managing agents to belong to an approved redress scheme which will give tenants an effective way to address complaints.

Whilst landlords and letting agents are free to set their own charges, they are prohibited from setting unfair terms or fees under existing consumer protection legislation. Where a consumer believes that agents are in breach of this legislation, it is open to them to draw this to the attention of their local trading standards officer.”

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