Tenant Fees Bill

Part of Gaza: Un Human Rights Council Vote – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 21st May 2018.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 7:45 pm, 21st May 2018

My hon. Friend highlights the issues that go to the heart of the Bill—that is why I hope that it will command broad support across the House.

The Bill places a duty on trading standards authorities to enforce the measures it contains. It also makes provision to enable tenants and other relevant people to recover unlawfully charged fees. It prevents landlords from recovering their property, via the section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 procedure, until they have repaid any unlawfully charged fees. A breach of the fees ban will usually be a civil offence, with a financial penalty of £5,000. However, if a further breach is committed within five years this will amount to a criminal offence. In such a case, local authorities will have discretion about whether to prosecute or impose a financial penalty. Guidance on that will be issued. They may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution. Local authorities will be able to retain funds raised through financial penalties, with the money reserved for future local housing enforcement.

Finally, the Bill makes provision for a lead enforcement authority to provide oversight, guidance and support, with the enforcement of requirements on letting agents. This includes the ban on letting fees and related provisions.