Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Commons vote on letting agent fees

The letting agent fees row will hit the Commons this week after the Labour party forced a vote on the issue.

The opposition wants to see a ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants when they rent a property.

The proposal will be tabled as an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill in the Commons tomorrow (Tuesday).

Party leader Ed Miliband told reporters during a campaign visit to Greater Manchester that Labour would be challenging Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to back the measure.But Paul Smith, CEO at estate agent haart, dismissed the vote as “nothing but an empty political PR stunt”.

“Tenants receive a very good service, mostly to protect them and their interests, both physical and financial and to ensure they have security of tenancy. That service comes at a real cost to agents and if we are unable to charge as an industry, there is a real danger agents will cut corners and reduce the quality of administration, which is exactly opposite what we believe is right; tenants deserve to be protected, but have to understand that comes at a small cost.

“Tenants’ fees include the cost of referencing – employment and previous landlord, ensuring that the prospective tenant is actually who they say they are and that they can afford to make rental payments and drafting the tenancy agreement. If the tenant doesn’t pay for this service upfront it will not simply disappear – instead it will become part of the monthly rent if the costs are transferred to the landlord. Will the Labour Party also seek to implement this ban on lettings for commercial lets too?”