Letting fees are an unfair cost pushed onto tenants by greedy landlords.
Today a bill to abolish letting fees achieved third reading in the House of Commons and I spoke in favour of the bill
The leading cause of homelessness is the ending of a private rented sector tenancy. Whilst rental costs continue to spiral, people are becoming trapped: they cannot afford their rent and they cannot afford to move somewhere more affordable as a result of the myriad of administrative fees.
Tenant fees are often unreasonable, they lack transparency and make the upfront costs of moving extortionate. Why should we punish people for moving home?
The average cost of lettings fees are £200 but sometimes are upwards of £700, and set at the discretion of the landlord, meaning that there is no way for renters to prevent their landlord demanding the highest payment without recourse.
The private rented sector is incredibly transient, especially for young people who are often forced to move house every year as their rent increases, and then are hit by this additional fee.
And yet, the legislation the government has introduced is open to abuse – as landlords and lettings agency can simply introduce new fees under a different name. The government introduced their own amendments in response to this concern, but these amendments are vague and leave it to the landlord or letting agents’ discretion as to what constitutes a “reasonable cost”. This falls short of closing this loophole and does not protect renters.
However, fighting for renters’ rights and against the angry opposition of letting agents, we have fought to get the bill where it is today.
Once the bill becomes law, renters will be protected from unfair letting fees that make moving home more of a challenge. No longer will the stress on high costs loom over them.
What’s more, they can rest assure that the Liberal Democrats are working hard to help solve the housing crisis.
The bill will now enter the House of Lords where the drive to ban letting fees first began with Liberal Democrat peer, Baroness Grender.