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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Shelter to tell MPs its view of the Draft Tenants' Fees Bill

Today sees the return of MPs to Parliament following the Christmas break, and one early task is to hear oral evidence on the draft Tenants’ Fees Bill - the measure which is likely to outlaw the levying of agents’ fees on tenants in England.

The key elements of the Bill’s proposals are the creation of a civil offence with a fine of £5,000 for an initial breach of the ban on letting agent fees and creating a criminal offence where a person has been fined or convicted of the same offence within the last five years. 

It also requires Trading Standards to enforce the ban and to make provision for tenants to be able to recover unlawfully charged fees.

It also agrees to appoint a lead enforcement authority in the lettings sector and it amends the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements should apply to property portals as well as agencies’ own websites.

This afternoon MPs on the Communities and Local Government committee will hear evidence from Kate Webb, head of policy at campaigning charity Shelter; the celebrated housing academic Dr Julie Rugg, who is senior research fellow at the Centre for Housing Policy based at the University of York; and Professor Ian Loveland of The City Law School at the University of London.

This oral evidence session is the first of several, which will include trade bodies; the committee is charged with conducting what is known as “pre-legislative scrutiny” of the government's proposals.

Poll: Has Shelter stopped being a 'homeless charity' and become a 'campaign group'?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • jeremy clarke

    Wouldn't it be nice if agents could tell mps what they think of shelter?

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    On Friday at 11.39 pm we had a call out because the tenant had lost his keys and couldn’t get into his house. A member of our staff drove to the local branch, got the ‘management set of keys’, drove to the tenants house and let the tenant in. We charged him £5 for our trouble and he was more than happy. The alternative to this would be “sorry we can’t help at all due to restrictions caused by Shelter”, you may find a shop doorway nearby”.

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    £5? You are seriously undervaluing your time, Sir!

     
    Alexis Addison

    I will answer messages from tenants any time, and try and contractors out for them, who pays for this? Us & Landlords thats who. The majority of my tenants are happy to pay for the great service they get from us.

     
  • Robert Ulph

    Paul I fully understand what we do for tenants is sometimes above and beyond, but the Government really did not get this when they proposed the ban. All of this I am afraid will go out of the window when the ban comes in as companies adjust with the massive hole in income appears so the issue with the keys will have to be fully charged it took to collect and deliver. I too have done this in the past and not charged but this will all change. Real shame that it will come to this and it will effect yet again the most vulnerable of tenants who struggle from month to month as agents will be able to charge for arrears letters, late rent, lost keys, copies of tenancies. All of this we have not bothered with in the past but Landlords will not pay for in the future.

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    I fear they have absolutely no idea what , or how much we do for tenants. I agree we will need to implement a raft of new in-tenancy charges to compensate for lost upfront admin fee including a late rent charge and lost key callout. I'll start by charging when I need to put their bins out or remove superfluous rubbish bags (previously done for free.) After tenancy too- redirect your letters and give you a free reference I don't think so!

     
  • Alexis Addison

    I have spoken to Shelter on a few occasions and they do not know as much as they like to portray about housing law. They also have no concept of how much damage they are doing to the housing crisis and especially low income tenants by discrediting Agents and private landlords - they need to be told, as do the government

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    The office was 1 minute from our staff members house and the tenants 1 minute from there. It wasn’t a massive deal, we were just trying to help a tenant in distress. The difficulty is where we can’t charge for anything, would we be so helpful? Probably not. It’s also when tenants want to sign another contract to ensure that they are secure for another 12 months, is it worth while us preparing one and getting it signed if we get zero in return

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