Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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We should call time on rip off letting fees

At the weekend I wrote to the Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, who I am taking on in next year’s general election, calling on him to back Labour's amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill which would ban letting agent fees for tenants. The amendment will be debated later on Tuesday in the House of Commons, after which Labour will call a vote. 

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In April the campaign group Generation Rent released research that pinpointed Plymouth Sutton and Devonport as a constituency where the people renting from private landlords could be deciding factor in the 2015 General Election.

Over 22,000 people in the city rent privately, an increase of 55% since 2001.

To date I have not received a reply from Mr Colvile to my email.

A copy of the open letter is below.

 

Saturday 10th May 2014

Dear Oliver,

Nine million people are living in rented homes today, more than a million families, and more than two million children. With tenants in Plymouth facing rip-off fees from lettings agents and insecure tenancies, Labour has announced the biggest change in a generation to make the system fairer for renters.

On Tuesday, MPs of all political parties will have the chance to implement an important part of this plan - banning letting agent fees to tenants.

Tenants are hit by huge upfront costs through unfair letting agent fees. A survey of letting agents found that 94 per cent imposed additional charges on tenants on top of the deposit and rent in advance. Fees are extremely variable, but on average tenants are forced to pay £355 to their lettings agents every time they move house with some paying as much as £500. These costs are putting addition pressure on renters with 54 per cent of people surveyed saying they faced financial difficulties covering fees.

The amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, to be voted on this Tuesday, will give all MPs the chance to stand with renters and make a real difference to their lives by banning letting fees to tenants.

I'm writing to call on you to support the amendment. The next Labour government will pass legislation to ban letting agent fees for tenants and to introduce longer-term tenancies with predictable rents. But on Tuesday all MPs will have a chance to stand for the nine million people who rent. If you fail to vote for the amendment, all those who rent in Plymouth will be entitled to ask why you won't stand up for them.

In light of the public interest in this matter I am releasing a copy of this letter to the press.

Yours sincerely,

 

Luke Pollard
Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

 

Further reading

  1. Labour will seek to amend the Consumer Rights Bill when it is debated in the House of Commons at report stage by introducing an amendment to ban letting agent fees for tenants.

  2. Tenants are hit by huge upfront costs through unfair letting agent fees. A survey of letting agents found that 94 per cent imposed additional charges on tenants on top of the deposit and rent in advance. Fees are extremely variable, but on average tenants are forced to pay £355 to their lettings agents every time they move house with some paying as much as £500. These costs are putting addition pressure on renters with 54 per cent of people surveyed saying they faced financial difficulties covering fees.

  3. Generation Rent coverage:http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Struggling-voters-rent-homes-decide-Plymouth-MP-s/story-20923432-detail/story.html#ixzz31Uu6tsmv

  4. Link to detail of three key reforms to the private rented sector announced last week by Ed Miliband:http://press.labour.org.uk/post/84352297129/ed-miliband-launches-election-campaign-with-rents

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