10:13 AM, 16th May 2014, About 10 years ago 5
Labour MP Stella Creasy, tabled a motion to amendment the Consumer Rights Bill banning letting agents from charging fees to tenants. The vote was defeated by 228 for to 281 against with all but 3 coalition MPs voting against.
Ms Creasy during the debate said “it is a fundamentally anti-competitive corporate practice. We want to do something about it”. “You have to make a decision in this House on whether you are on the side of the consumer or on the side of business.”
This was an effort to stop the practice of Letting agents charging both landlords and tenants which Ms Creasy says shows letting agents do not have the best interest of either party at heart, and is placing unnecessary financial burden on consumers who need to frequently move properties.
The Coalition earlier countered with their own amendment fining letting agents if they fail to publish full details of fees charged to tenants arguing that this transparency of forcing agents to publish fees means they would have to justify the charges properly increasing competitiveness.
David Cameron has said he would consider working with Ed Miliband on proposals for longer term tenancy agreements, but would not support old fashioned rent controls.
A pre-vote Labour press release said – “Across the country, private renters are being hit by the cost-of-living crisis and paying unfair fees to letting agents. The next Labour government will pass legislation to ban letting agent fees for tenants and to introduce longer-term tenancies with predictable rents.”
“David Cameron and George Osborne are totally out of touch with the cost of living crisis facing the nine million people who rent privately, including 1.3 million families with children. The Tories promised to improve private renting but they’ve turned their back on reform.”
ARLA MD Ian Potter said, “Labour’s amendment was ill thought through and its failure to pass illustrates this. I’m glad that the majority of MPs recognise that a ban on letting agent fees will only lead to an increase in rents, as landlords and agents seek to achieve returns. Fees are not arbitrary or unnecessary they represent a business cost that those tabling the amendment failed to recognise. ARLA’s call, as ever, is for wholesale regulation of the market to ensure fair and transparent practices for all consumers, landlords and agents alike.”
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