Tenant Fees Bill - Committee (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 20th November 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Gardner of Parkes Baroness Gardner of Parkes Conservative 4:45 pm, 20th November 2018

My Lords, I have moved this amendment simply because it is essential for people to know what they can be charged and what they cannot. The noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, commented at the end of his speech on just that fact: that people need to know. If something was in the guidance that would indeed be very valuable, but at the present time people have no idea what they will be charged.

A lot of people have no idea that they have to prove they have a right to be in this country. I am sure most of us remember the embarrassing start of this whole problem, when a very impressive member of the Government at the time found that she had not checked on someone she employed. That is where all this started. As I understand the situation, there is now a fixed amount that people would be asked to pay for such an official designation of their nationality and the rights they have here. People are often totally unaware of this.

I understand that overcharging should not take place—I am not for a minute suggesting that—but people will need to know that, to rent a property, they have to prove that they are an ordinary person entitled to live here and not limited in what tenancy they can undertake. That is the purpose of this amendment. I claim no expertise in the wording of it, as the Public Bill Office very kindly helped me. I would be interested if people have comments on that. The principle behind it is to enable people to know what is and is not legitimate. Whether it is the agent, the prospective tenant or anyone else who provides that necessary information, it costs. You do not get it for nothing; that is the problem. I feel that the Bill is rather restrictive at the moment. I beg to move.