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Bill seeking a ban on agents' fees to be debated again next week

The Renters’ Rights Bill - which includes provisions scrapping agents’ fees for tenants, mandatory registration of landlords and limiting the size of deposits - returns to the House of Lords next week.

The measure, which as a Private Members' Bill is actually unlikely to become law, Aims to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 by preventing letting agents in England charging existing tenants or prospective tenants - there would be a ban on tenants being expected to pay registration fees; administration charges, inventory check fees; reference checks, as well as renewal or exit fees. 

Moved by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Grender, the measure - which also proposes an automatic ban for any agent or landlord on a ‘rogue operators’ database from being granted an HMO licence - attracted substantial all-party support last time it was debated in the Lords at the so-called Second Reading stage back in June. 

Now it's been announced that the measure will be debated in more detail at committee stage, again in the Lords, on November 18.

In June Baroness Grender told the Lords that consumer protection for private rental sector tenants is much less developed than in most other commercial activities and she claims renters are "often at the mercy of landlords and lettings agents."

“It is time for Government intervention to address this imbalance of power and build up the consumer rights of renters" she claims. “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."

Letting agents' fees on tenants are already banned in Scotland and this measure, should it become law, would apply only to England.

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    "already banned in Scotland"!…with a government only cares about her referendum, we take Scotland as an example? In Scotland, landlords pay all costs before and after tenancy, rent arrears, illegal sublet, tenants can walk away without paying anything. Judges have no gut, to extend and delay the tenancy period as long as possible during eviction…but landlords are not human beings, landlords don't have the right. Tenants can steal and run. This is Scotland! No law. No justice. England should get more involved in Scotland, not to take Scotland as an example to suit your convenience. Are we heading toward a direction of extreme socialist? We work, we pay tax but we are not allowed to charge!

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