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Jul 04 2013

Gareth Says: We Need to Control ‘Wild West’ Letting Agents

gareth_thomas_headshot1Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West, is backing a Bill to control the property market’s ‘Wild West’ by licensing letting agents and banning rip-off fees for renters.

The Letting Agents (Competition, Choice and Standards) Bill has cross-party support and backing from housing charities and industry bodies. The Bill would include:

  • a legal right to a written tenancy agreement
  • a ban on agency charges beyond a deposit and rent in advance
  • a redress scheme for when things go wrong
  • mandatory national licensing for all agents, with core standards and a “fitness to practise” test
  • strong enforcement powers for councils and new powers to set up their own local letting agencies

Mr Thomas said: “I am backing this Bill because I am concerned that anyone can set up a letting agency even if they have a bad track record or criminal record. In Harrow, over 53,000 people are living in accommodation rented from a private landlord. They deserve better protection from rip-off high fees.”

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