Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Cambridge MP Calls For More Protection For Private Rental Tenants

MP Julian Huppert is calling on the government to give more protection to private rental tenants who may fall victim to unscrupulous letting agents.

Many tenants face exorbitant charges imposed for agents to prepare or renew contracts, perform credit checks, or other admin costs.

Julian will propose a Bill to deal with this in Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday, March 12) under the so-called 10 Minute Rule after a constituent contacted him asking if the powers of the Independent Housing Ombudsman, which deals with complaints from social housing tenants against their landlords, could be extended to carry out spot checks on private landlords.

He will ask the government to ban exorbitant fees, undertake a review of the law has it applies to the private rented sector and make it easier for councils to set up landlord and property accreditation schemes. He will also call for a housing ombudsman service to be set up deal with tenants’ complaints.

“I am very concerned that some tenants are being charged amounts for standard parts of renting a flat, or for the repair or replacement of fixtures and fillings which far exceeds what is necessary,” said Julian.

“There is no overarching regulation of the private rental sector and I am worried that tenants are at the mercy of unscrupulous agencies which see tenancies as a way of making extra money over and above the standard charges.”

The full wording of Julian’s Private Rented Sector Bill is as follows:

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to prevent the charging by letting agents of above-cost fees; to provide that the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 and Estate Agents Act 1979 apply to letting agencies; to facilitate the establishment by councils of landlord and property accreditation schemes; to establish a housing ombudsman service for tenants in the private rented sector; to require the Secretary of State to undertake a review of the legislation applying to the private rented sector; and for connected purposes.