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Liberal Democrats latest to demand ban on letting agents' fees

The Liberal Democrats are following in the footsteps of some Green and Labour politicians in calling for a ban on letting agents’ fees on tenants in England and Wales.

Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington and the party’s foreign affairs spokesman in the House of Commons, has presented to Parliament his Landlords and Tenants (Reform) Bill.

This includes scrapping letting agents’ fees for tenants, mandatory registration of landlords and limiting the size of deposits.

In a blog, Brake claims this Bill offers “a fairer deal for private renters” many of which are “living in fear and uncertainty” in the private lettings sector. 

“We clearly have a rental sector which is broken. Many people are spending over half their disposable income on rent and yet a third of homes fail to meet the government’s decent homes standard, with over 60 per cent of renters having experienced either damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestation or gas leaks, according to a recent survey commissioned by Shelter” claims Brake.

“The rental system is simply not fit for purpose and needs radical reform” he says. 

The Bill is considered unlikely to have any chance of making progress.

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    There is a clear lack of adequate regulation on this topic and when you end up in that situation it's a problem. Agents are quite right to point out that they need to cover costs one way or another (even if that means adding it on to rent) but there will always be agents out there willing to push the boundaries of what's acceptable if they think they can get away with it.

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