The Tenant Fees Bill sailed through its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday 21 May 2018, with unanimous support from MPs.
During the debate, only two MPs pointed out the bill’s shortcomings, questioning whether a ban on letting agents’ fees for tenants would result in higher rents.
In opening the debate, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP, said: “It is a Bill that we should all welcome.”
One issue addressed during the debate was that of ‘default fees’. These are fees an agent will be able to charge a tenant only if that tenant creates additional work for the agent, and these fees are to be “capped at the level of the landlord’s loss.”
On the subject of capping deposits at six week’s rent, Brokenshire said: “A cap of six weeks’ rent, in our judgment, offers a balance of greater protection to tenants while giving landlords the flexibility to accept higher-risk tenants. It will also give landlords adequate financial security, and we believe that is necessary to maintain investment and supply in the sector.”
The Tenant Fees Bill is intended to make the lettings market more transparent for tenants, while making it harder for so-called ‘rogue’ landlords to operate.
As Brokenshire added: “The Bill is not an attack on good agents and landlords.”
MPs also declared that the Tenant Fees Bill would boost competition in the marketplace, not hinder it.
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