LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

MPs back better protection for tenants

MPs back better protection for tenants

MPs have passed the first stage of a bill calling for greater protection for private rented sector tenants.

The bill was introduced by back bench Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert and called for the housing ombudsman to be given powers to oversee private landlords. It calls for a ban on “exorbitant” letting agent fees to prepare or renew contracts, a review of the law applied to landlords and tenants, and a review of the way councils set up landlord and property accreditation schemes.

The bill now joins the queue of “10-minute rule” bills awaiting a second reading.

Tim Farron, MP for South Lakes and president of the Liberal Democrats, was co-sponsor of the 10-minute rule bill.

He said: “I am very concerned that some tenants are being charged excessive amounts for the standard process of letting a flat, or for the repair or replacement of fixtures and fittings.

“There is no overarching regulation of the private housing sector and I am worried that tenants are at the mercy of unscrupulous agencies which see tenancies as a way of making extra money over and above the standard charges.”