Lettings Agents Criticised by Ministers

WestministerA debate in Westminster this week saw lettings agents come under fire for their confusing, inconsistent fees and charges regime.

Labour has called on the Government to take real action to protect renters, including the more than one million families and rising that live in the sector. They have called for the government:

*to regulate residential lettings and management agents, protecting tenants, landlords and the reputations of the many responsible agents;

*to end the confusing, inconsistent fees and charges regime making fees easily understandable, upfront and comparable across agents;

*to promote longer term tenancies and predictable rents;

*to introduce a national register of landlords and empower local authorities to improve standards and deal with rogue landlords.

Last year the private rented sector overtook the social rented sector for the first time in nearly half a century. There are now 3.6 million households in the private rented sector, including more than one million families with children. The private rented sector is now a mainstream tenancy, making up 3.6 million households in England.

The effect is a growing swell of voices who are demanding more protection for renters. Unscrupulous letting agents are particularly singled out and many in Westminster are pushing for plans to regulate the sector – a move backed by tenants, landlords and responsible agents.

Do you use a letting agent to rent your property? If so, what has your experience of them been? Do you think they are a help or a hindrance to the private rental market?