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Written by rosalind renshaw

A former Labour housing minister has attacked the tenants’ charter proposed by Eric Pickles.

John Healey says that it will not stop the “scandal” of “rip-off fees” charged to tenants, and will continue to give “free rein to rogue letting and managing agents”.

Healey says that Pickles’s plans for a model tenancy agreement and a tenants’ charter are toothless.

He said: “Absolutely anyone can set up as a letting or managing agent. There are no rules on agents, so people are often hit by up-front fees and no rights for tenants, not even the right to a written tenancy agreement.

“No voluntary measures can correct this market malpractice. Regulation is required to make the market work more fairly, efficiently and transparently.

“That is why I have put a Bill before Parliament to stop the scandal of rip-off fees and sharp practice by letting agents in the private rented sector.

“We know that the average upfront fee that agents charge tenants is now £350 on top of rent and deposit, and that complaints to the property ombudsman about letting agents last year were up 50% when compared with just four years ago.”

Healey’s Bill is called the Letting Agents (Competition, Choices and Standards) Bill 2013-2014. It is due to have a second reading next week on October 18. However, it was introduced as a Ten Minute Rule Bill and these often make no progress.

The Bill sets out to establish a mandatory licensing scheme for letting and managing agents, and to ban fees.  

Also next week, on October 15, another private members’ Bill is due to have a reading.

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn also wants regulation of letting agents, and to outlaw discrimination by landlords against tenants on benefits.

Comments

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    With all of the discussions about the need to get banks to change their terms some of the key points about the Tenants' Charter have been overlooked.

    We have put together a short article with 5 key issues for landlords and letting agents to be aware of: http://www.fixflo.com/Blog

    • 11 October 2013 10:44 AM
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    Funny how the language used by Mr Corbyn "toothless" is exactly the same as that used by Shelter.

    I don't think it's a coincidence that the chief executive of Shelter is a former member of Labour's inner circle.

    It's time that the tax payer stopped subsidising Shelter/Labour party to attack the Private Rental Sector.

    • 08 October 2013 13:41 PM
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    I love the last line of the article - 'ban discrimination by landlords against tenants on benefits'.

    Is Mr Corbyn proposing also that the taxpayer should reimburse the mortgage arrears of landlords whose new benefit tenants (imposed by law) fail to pay their rent and spend their housing benefit on beer, fags and plasma TVs instead? After all something like that worked for the banks bailouts... All that will happen is that mortgage lenders will impose conditions, refuse to lend or withhold permission to let, and the private rented sector will collapse in a heap of bankrupt landlords and homeless tenants.

    • 08 October 2013 12:52 PM
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    The vast amount of work and cost that is expended by the majority, because of the few...

    • 08 October 2013 10:33 AM
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    Some of my teachers at school did not know what they were talking about but one was never allowed to question what they were saying because they had the authority of being the teacher and therefore ought to know better than the pupils.

    I find politicians to be just like those teachers, given the authority of being an MP they are suddenly wise in any subject that takes their fancy.

    John Healey please join Yvette Cooper and Clive Betts in my list of MPs who know sod all about the lettings industry.

    • 08 October 2013 08:22 AM
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