No evidence for Diane Abbott’s claim of landlords demanding ‘pay-to-view’

No evidence for Diane Abbott’s claim of landlords demanding ‘pay-to-view’

11:01 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago 31

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A controversial appearance by Labour MP Diane Abbott on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ led to claims that landlords are ‘charging tenants to view’ a property.

But when Ms Abbott was asked by Property118 for evidence to back up this claim, there has been no response.

The claim starts with co-presenter Richard Madeley asking Ms Abbott about landlords charging potential tenants to view a home.

Ms Abbott replied: “They are now charging just to look at a property, some of them are charging a relatively small amount, £30, but some of them are charging hundreds of pounds.”

No evidence that landlords are charging potential tenants

Fellow presenter Kate Garraway highlighted that a journalist on the show had investigated and could find no evidence that landlords are charging potential tenants to view a property.

She added that the law now makes the paying of these fees illegal and asked Ms Abbott what evidence she had.

Ms Abbott said her ‘evidence’ was anecdotal and there was no evidence from tenant surveys.

However, she doubled down on the allegation and said, ‘a lot of estate agents’ are saying that tenants are being charged and ‘this is something that needs to be cracked down on’.

Ms Abbott continued: “One of the things a Labour government would do is to bring in a renters’ charter and one of the things that would say is in no circumstances can landlords charge just to view a property.”

Labour would not have to bring in a new law

Ms Garraway highlighted that the law already prevents this from happening, so Labour would not have to bring in a new law to deal with the issue.

Ms Abbott replied: “But it doesn’t seem to be biting, does it? Because you hear too much anecdotal evidence, certainly in London, of people charging to view.”

The only evidence that Property118 could find was one platform for agents offering to arrange viewings at £30 each – to ‘guarantee’ a viewing. The platform is no longer available.

And in 2018, a BBC investigation found that a London letting agent was charging £300 per viewing.

Landlords who are charging potential tenants to view a property

We could find nothing about agents or landlords who are charging potential tenants to view a property since the Tenant Fees Act came in.

However, a Which? investigation in February highlighted various scams online with fraudulent listings on SpareRoom – a flat-sharing site – highlighted that some tenants are being asked to pay to view a property which would be refunded if they turned up. SpareRoom said it responds quickly to these scam attempts.

‘Charging fees to view private rented properties goes against the Tenant Fees Act’

David Oliver, the compliance manager at Propertymark, told us: “Agents charging fees to view private rented properties goes against the Tenant Fees Act 2019, so not only is it illegal but is highly immoral and something no agent should be practising.

“Members of the public should be aware that if they do know of an agent who is doing this, they should report them to the redress scheme they are registered to which legally has to be displayed on the agents’ website.

“They should also report this to the agent’s local authority as its trading standards department enforces the Tenant Fees Act legislation.”

Government’s guidance on the Tenants Fees Act

Indeed, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s guidance on the Tenants Fees Act makes clear:

PROHIBITED PAYMENTS

What payments are not permitted under the ban?

VIEWING FEES

Can I ask a tenant to pay a fee to view a property?

No. You cannot charge for this as viewing a property is part of the process connected with granting a tenancy.

No evidence that landlords are charging potential tenants

And since Property118 could find no evidence that landlords are charging potential tenants to view a property, we contacted tenant organisations about poor landlord and agent practices.

Both Generation Rent and Acorn, which represents tenants, did not reply to our requests for information.

We also contacted Diane Abbott’s office for comment about her claims on Good Morning Britain and proof – even if anecdotal – of landlords asking for payment to view a property. There has been no reply.


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Comments

NewYorkie

11:34 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Anecdotal 'evidence'! So, like all her interviews, made up on the hoof. She really shouldn't be given airtime... unless the media deliberately use her stupidity for comic relief.

Richie

11:54 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Just made up political nonsense. Should ask her precious leader Starmer to explain her comments. From previous interviews she cant add up so would not know the difference between £30 and £300.

I wonder what's in her head and the heads that vote for her?

Ray Guselli

11:57 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

The biggest problem that I see is that there will be thousands of people who heard the interview and believe that she, as an MP, has provided factually correct information.

Remedy: she should be required to appear again and confirm that there was no evidence to substantiate her false claim.

MartinR

12:42 PM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Diane Abbott the comedy gift that keeps on giving.

Should she not raise this matter in Parliament if she is so sure about it and then we can get her in front of The Privileges Committee, that would be great comedy.

anthony altman

12:46 PM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

I believe next it is to be revealed that anecdotal evidence proves that landlords are wilfully discriminating against certain genders and colours of pound notes

Really Reluctant Landlord

14:50 PM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

But they're NOT tenants, are they? So in fact it IS permitted! If they then take the property and rent it, then the fee should be refunded or deducted from the rent or something. For many years I have said I should charge a deposit for me to drive half an hour to a property, wait a reasonable amount of time for the viewer to not turn up or turn up but not be suitable etc, and then drive half an hour back. That's just maybe £10 that I could put towards fuel and wasted time. I have no issue refunding a £10 deposit to anyone that actually turns up, whether they take to property or not, but the wasted hours from 'no shows' seem to go unnoticed by the government!

Luke P

15:10 PM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richie at 12/04/2023 - 11:54
iDeOloGy...that's what's in their heads. If you screw your eyes up tight enough and just believe, Utopia will become so.

anthony altman

15:20 PM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Had a council send me a bill for £70 for a missed appointment on a property I didn't even own so I told them to contact the owner
Their response was our records confirm you are the owner ( they use the word confirm a lot as if it is the word of god. )
I responded by telling them all that was confirmed is that their records are faulty
What followed was the usual threats and intimidation they only backed down when it went to court had to admit they were wrong no apology of course completely unaccountable as always

Jo Cark

15:22 PM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Any comments from a person associated with Corbyn is to be dismissed.

anthony altman

15:27 PM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Hate and stupidity perfect combination

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