A senior Labour politician claims that “unscrupulous” letting agents are hammering tenants with higher-than-usual charges between now and June 1 when the fees ban comes into effect across London.
Earlier this week the Tenants Fees Bill won Royal Assent, meaning it becomes law with an implementation date of June 1.
Now Tom Copley - Labour’s London Assembly housing spokesperson and a long-term critic of agents - says rogues will make the most of the next few months.
“Whilst it is very welcome that with this new Act of Parliament, we will see protections for tenants from these fees and a cap on deposits at five weeks’ rent, there is still a four-month waiting period for the new laws to come in force.
“By implication, we are now in danger of unscrupulous agents and landlords using this period of delay to charge even higher fees than usual. The government has already dragged their feet on this, despite the Chancellor promising in his Autumn Statement back in 2016 that letting fees will be banned as soon as possible.”
Copley says that Londoners in the private rental sector have already been subject to “exorbitant letting fees and deposits with excessive rents adding insult to injury.”
His leader in the capital, London mayor Sadiq Khan, has already gone on record saying he would like to have the powers to control rents - despite having in the past suggested such measures could backfire.
Copley continues: “Private renters deserve much more from the government. As a matter of urgency, Section 21 no fault evictions must be scrapped and open-ended tenancies introduced, with caps on rent rises.
“I welcome the work Sadiq Khan has announced to develop a model of rent control that will work in London. The government should devolve to City Hall the necessary powers for him to implement this.”