Which? responds to the Government’s response to the Select Committee Inquiry into the private rented sector

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“Renting is now the only housing option for millions so we’re pleased to see the Government taking steps to address problems in the lettings market. Making charges clear upfront will enable people to shop around more easily, and longer tenancies could mark the end of unnecessary renewal fees.

“The new legislation giving landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme now needs to be brought in as soon as possible and there must be strong action taken against any agent in breach of the scheme.”

Background

1.     Which? first campaigned for improved protection and redress in the lettings market in 2007 when we called for an amendment to the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 to require letting agents to join an approved complaints scheme, as sales agents are. After continued lobbying, we are pleased the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, to be implemented in Spring 2014, is going to give all landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme. This will mean that 40% of agents who currently aren’t signed up to a redress scheme will have to become members.

2.     Our investigation earlier this year found that major letting agents are acting unlawfully by not being upfront about the fees charged to clients. The Tenants’ Charter announced today outlines that lettings agents must tell people what all their fees are upfront and before they have committed to anything, including visiting a property.

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