We’re One Step Closer To Seeing Letting Fees Banned

The Debrief went to Westminster on Friday as part of our campaign to see letting agency fees for renters scrapped.Photos by Matilda Hill-Jenkins

We're One Step Closer To Seeing Letting Fees Banned

by Vicky Spratt |
Published on

We’re one step closer to getting letting fees banned. The Debrief’s campaign to Make Renting Fair in England has received an overwhelming amount of support since it launched back in March. We’ve now got over a quarter of a million signatures and we’ve received the support of Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan as well as Shadow Housing Minister, Teresa Pearce MP.


On Friday

(http://change.libdems.org.uk/reform_renting)isis){href='http://change.libdems.org.uk/reform_renting)is' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'} currently going through the House of Lords; we spoke to her just before its second reading.

Baroness Grender, who insisted that we call her Olly, is currently working towards getting letting agency fees banned, giving renters access to an open register of rogue landlords, introducing compulsory electrical safety checks in rented properties and preventing those who have been outed as rogue landlords in the past from obtaining a licence in the future.

Her support on this issue was a really important step in the journey of the Make Renting Fair campaign. Letting agency fees for renters have been banned in Scotland for quite some time, with this being enforced since 2012. Now we’re a step closer to seeing them scrapped in England.

Speaking to us on Friday Baroness Grender told The Debrief that she doesn’t think there should be any fees for renters, ‘fees should be paid by landlords’ she said. ‘They’re a rip off, it’s an upfront fee and it’s really hard for people, especially when they’re moving. Let’s face it people who rent have to move much more often than people who buy.’

Among her concerns are the conditions of rental properties and the instability faced by many people who are now reliant on the private rental sector where tenancies are getting shorter and shorter as costs continue to increase. 'We'll keep pushing for this to the committee stage', she told The Debrief after her appearance in the Lords on Friday.

Housing charity Shelter and campaign group Generation Rent also joined us on Friday to give their support. The support of Baroness Grender for Make Renting Fair and the progress of her Renters’ Rights Bill could not come at a better time.

Today the lettings network Countrywide have released research which says that rents in Britain have gone up 27% since 2007, far outpacing a 16% growth in people’s wages. They also found that twentysomethings are now shelling out nearly half of their post-tax income on rent, something many of us know all too well.

According to Countrywide single person in employment between the ages of 22 and 29 now spends 48% of their income on rent.

This country’s housing market is broken. There is no quick fix, no simple solution. However, the end of letting fees would be one way of improving the lives of those renting in England. According to the most recent statistic from the Office for National Statistics that’s 8.3 million households in England and Wales. Today more people than ever are renting. A report, conducted by economists at accountancy firm PwC last year, predicted that by 2025, a quarter of all households will be renting privately and that the biggest increase will be seen among those aged between 20 and 39, where ‘a clear majority’ will be private tenants within the next decade.

Once the mainstay of students and the very poor, or a stop gap between homes - renting privately is becomming the new normal. We need legislation to reflect that and protect the interests of the increasing number of people living in rented accomodation.

You might also be interested in:

The Reality Of Trying To Rent In London

How The Housing Bill Left Young People Behind

Housing Trends In 2016: We're All Moving To Margate

Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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