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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Fees ban: MPs announce further proposals to protect tenants

MPs have proposed a series of amendments to the Tenant Fees Bill as part of its Report Stage and Third Reading in the House of Commons.

Yesterday it was revealed that the Bill will include a new default fee provision which will only allow agents and landlords to recover 'reasonable incurred costs' for minor damages.

Evidence of these costs will have to be provided to the tenant before agents or landlords can impose any charges.

The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government says this will put a stop to 'tenants being charged hundreds of pounds for a damaged item that actually only costs a few pounds to replace'.

It gives the example of tenants being charged £60 by agents to replace smoke alarms which the local council would provide for free.

A further amendment tabled yesterday is a move to reduce the timeframe in which agents and landlords have to pay back any fees that have been deemed to be charged unlawfully to 7-14 days.

"Tenants across the country, whatever their income, should not be hit with unfair costs by agents or landlords," commented MP Rishi Sunak in an official government statement.  

"This government is determined to make sure our housing market works and this new provision in the Tenant Fees Bill will make renting fairer and more transparent for all."

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Conservative MP and founder of franchise agency Hunters, Kevin Hollinrake said the legislation 'still has flaws'. 

He argued that it could hinder landlords if, for example, a tenant loses a key and a payment needs to be made for a company to come out and let the tenant in.

Hollinrake said these charges should not be incurred on landlords and letting agents, and a distinction between fees and lawful charges should be clarified as part of the Bill.

“We’re disappointed but unsurprised the Tenant Fees Bill has passed the House of Commons. Over the summer, we worked with Daniel Kawczynski MP on his amendment to allow agents to charge up to £300," says David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark.

"Although the amendment was unsuccessful, this shows that members involved in ARLA Propertymark’s campaign have helped MPs understand the unintended consequences of the tenant fee ban; with some MPs listening to the legitimate concerns of the industry."

"As the Bill moves into the House of Lords we will continue working to ensure Parliamentarians understand the impact the ban will have on the whole private rented sector," he says.

The Labour Party also proposed amendments to the Bill - both of which were rejected. It called for a loophole which allows landlords to charge tenants significant fines if they break their tenancy agreements to be closed and for the £5,000 cap on landlord fines to be removed. 

"Labour’s changes would ensure that landlords and agents cannot get around the bill by sneaking unfair fees into tenancy agreements and help make funding available to catch those who don’t play by the rules," said Melanie Onn, Labour’s shadow housing minister.

Poll: Should agents and landlords have to provide evidence to tenants of 'incurred costs' for minor property damage?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • Neil Moores

    I presume that in the case of missing smoke alarms then it will be acceptable to just post them to the property or for the tenants to pick them up from the agents' office before fitting them themselves, rather than having them fitted by a tradesperson, most of whom like to be paid for their time in my experience....

  • Angus Shield

    Oh Good Grief to quote a phrase...
    "It gives the example of tenants being charged £60 by agents to replace smoke alarms which the local council would provide for free."
    Hmmm, so the Council send the man, the van, with the ladder and make the appointment/issue the keys to fit it 'for free'?
    Of course Agents and Landlords provide "Evidence of these costs will have to be provided to the tenant before agents or landlords can impose any charges"; it's what we have to do under the prevailing deposit regulations for 10 years now. Do they not read their own legislation!!!
    Its all 'Peanuts' governance really.....

  • icon

    £60 to have smoke alarms installed is a pretty good price and I really don't understand the comment that the council would install them for free - They surely won't if a landlord asks - ridiculous.....

    sam l

    you are right of course. the fire brigade would fit it for free to homes. not for landlord, when it comes to landlord, everyone wanted to get a piece of money because they think landlord are raking it in big time.

     
  • icon

    As quoted above, it is not just the cost of buying replacement items (Or getting them free from the council) its also fitting them in the property, whether it be smoke alarms/ovens/washing machines or even bulbs.

    Granted, some landlords can do it themselves, but if they are not local and rely on a management agent, their insurance wont cover them to do it so have to hire a tradesperson to do it, which costs money.

    Landlords and agents already have to provide invoices to the DPS/TDS for all costs incurred already when a dispute over the deposit arises so thats nothing new.

  • icon

    idiot clown government is there no end ???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • icon

    The council here does not provide free alarms only to their own properties, they do not have the funds are these people idiots because if so we pay them an awful lot for nothing.

  • icon

    Council person inspected my ex council flat as I have HMO for 3 persons.
    Told me to fit extra smoke alarms, already had 2, break glass with key in next to front door as it had 2 locks, council fitted door 2 years previuos with 2 locks and fit fire blanket to wall. Remove trailing cable tenant had placed to get internet in another room. Did all this and asked if they did all this to their flat they rent out next door, you have already guessed answer, No they dont pay these rules to their tenanted properties!!!!.
    Now the 5 year licence which i paid for it up for renewal but you have already guessed whats coming, you don't need an HMO licence any more, you could mot make up these happenings. Council, government have not got a clue how to be a landlord, fact proven.
    They will also charge me full Council Tax when my property is empty for a month because the last tenant trashed it. They don't even give me a 25% discount for a single person, so they charge for a service the dont provide as property is empty?!. Thief. I will send them my bill for No Service.

    sam l

    you are lucky. in bath, they wanted to do more revenue income and if you look closely a lot of department actually create new rules to create jobs for themselves and get promotion at landlord expense. otherwise they wont have anymore work to do , do they once all licence been sorted and had to wait another 5 years to do more. seem to be better being on payroll than to save money and try to make a living from it if cant find a job.

     
    sam l

    you are lucky. in bath, they are making up more rules on the pretext of making a higher standard of rented properties. if you work for the council and they make up more rules as they go along to ensure they have a job to do, its a job for life. job security. its not in the economy interest.why do you think uk economy is down? its suppressing capitalism and nobody wants to make money. they want an easy job on the council with secure monthly paycheck.

     
  • icon

    I have a similar situation. Requested £25.00 for replacement of missing shower curtain. DPS agreed with tenant that one could be purchased online for £5.00 and only agreed the £5.00. Can anyone out there let me know who they use as contractors that work as a charity?

    icon

    Do you really need a contractor to change a shower curtain?

     
  • sam l

    no one would do for charity. appeal against dps decision? so long as shown proof of receipt, dps surely must agree. they cant expect landlord to do it for free at their own time and expense. could inform dps, if tenant want it cheap, then tenant should have gotten it themselves and sorted that out prior to vacating property instead of expecting a tradesman or landlord to do charity.

  • icon

    The DPS Do expect us to do it for free. Even with cast iron proof and invoices and photos and an Inventory and 3 monthly Inspection reports they still come down in favour of tenants. Like council do not have a clue what's involved. Absolutely clue less.

  • sam l

    they just want to look good favouring tenants, thats what they always emphasize on, just like the council. their job is not to favour landlord. read the parliament issues protecting tenant favouring tenants at landlord expenses, we landlord lack power. court is more impartial than them

  • icon

    the government are going to be really stuck for housing which they think they are improving when private landlords have enough and start selling portfolios. clueless whoever is running this side of things, they need to be on the ground in the industry to understand whats going on.

  • icon

    They simply need to look great favoring occupants, that is the thing that they generally accentuate on, much the same as the gathering. Their activity isn't to support proprietor. Read the parliament issues ensuring inhabitant favoring occupants at landowner assignment expert service costs, we proprietor need control. court is more fair than them. The legislature will be extremely stuck for lodging which they think they are enhancing when private proprietors have enough and begin offering portfolios.

  • sam l

    dont rent. let them have housing problems which is effectively what the mps and council are doing when enough is enough. but of course they dont care. they still get paid.

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