‘(1) The provisions in this section apply to a contract for a trader to supply a service in connection with the letting of a residential premises.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this section, any person who demands or accepts payment of any sum of money from a person (“P”) for services in connection with a contract for the letting of residential premises shall be guilty of an offence.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), P is any person—
(a) who seeks to enter a contract to let residential accommodation, or
(b) who has a tenancy of, or other right or permission to occupy, residential premises.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (2)—
“letting” shall include any service provided in connection with the advertisement or marketing of residential accommodation or with the grant or renewal of a tenancy;
“services shall —
(a) include, and are not limited to—
(i) the registration of persons seeking accommodation,
(ii) the selection of prospective occupiers, and
(iii) any work associated with the production or completion of written agreements or other relevant documents.
(b) not include credit checks of person seeking accommodation.
(5) Where a person unlawfully demands or accepts payment under this section in the course of his employment, the employer or principal of that person shall also be guilty of an offence.
(6) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under this section by reason of his demanding or accepting payment of rent or a tenancy deposit within the meaning of section 212(8) of the Housing Act 2004.
(7) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under this section by reason of his demanding or accepting a holding deposit.
(8) A “holding deposit” for the purposes of subsection (7) is—
(a) a sum of money demanded of or accepted from a person, in good faith for the purpose of giving priority to that person in relation to the letting of a specific property, which is to be credited towards the tenancy deposit or rent upon the grant of the tenancy of that property, and
(b) not greater than two weeks rent for the accommodation in question.
(9) Costs incurred by persons seeking accommodation for the undertaking of credit checks shall be reimbursed upon the signing of a tenancy agreement.
(10) In this section, any reference to the grant or renewal of a tenancy shall include the grant or renewal or continuance of a lease or licence of, or other right or permission to occupy, residential premises.
(11) In this section “rent” shall include any occupation charge under a licence.’.—(Stella Creasy.)
Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.
The House divided:
Ayes 228, Noes 281.