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MPs Reject Amendment to Consumer Rights Bill

May 16, 2014 | Landlord News  

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The hotly anticipated (in the lettings sector, at least) vote on the proposal to ban letting agents from charging fees to tenants took place in the House of Commons yesterday evening. 228 MPs voted in favour of the ban, while 283 voted against – a margin of 53. Only three Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs voted in favour of the new clause.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg argued against the proposal tabled by Labour, saying that the amendment “may of course lead to higher rental costs.”

The Coalition Government has, however, drawn up its own measures which would see letting agents penalised with fines if they fail to publish full details of fees charged to tenants, both on their websites and in their offices. This is to be brought forward at a later date.

Housing minister Kris Hopkins said, “‘The vast majority of letting agents provide a good service to tenants and landlords. But we are determined to tackle the minority of rogue agents who offer a poor service. Ensuring full transparency and banning hidden fees is the best approach, giving consumers the information they want and supporting good letting agents.

“Short-term gimmicks like trying to ban any fee to tenants means higher rents by the back door. Excessive state regulation and waging war on the private rented sector would also destroy investment in new housing, pushing up prices and make it far harder for people to find a flat or house to rent.”

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