Private Rented Housing: Fees and Charges

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 17th November 2015.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to prevent excessive letting fees being charged to private-sector tenants.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

The Government has acted to protect tenants against unfair and excessive letting agency fees by requiring agents to publish a full breakdown of all charges prominently in their offices and on their website. A fine of up to £5,000 can be levied against agents who fail to comply.

Transparency is the key to keeping fees low, giving tenants the necessary information to make informed decisions and compare prices and, therefore, creating effective competition that should force agents to keep fees fair.

The Government has also made it a legal requirement, since 1 October 2014, for letting and managing agents in England to belong to one of the three Government approved redress schemes, offering a clear route for landlords and tenants to pursue complaints and, therefore, driving up standards.

We will continue to monitor the impact of these new requirements.

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