London renters ‘let down’ by Tenant Fees Bill, says Khan

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has said the Government’s proposed Tenant Fees Bill is a ‘missed opportunity’ to protect the 2.4 million private renters from rogue landlords and estate agents.

The long-awaited bill proposes a ban on all of the upfront fees letting agents currently charge prospective tenants as well as putting a cap on deposits.

Extortionate fees and deposits mean London’s renters need to find nearly £3,700 each time they move home, compared with the nationwide average of £2,000.

In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, Khan, along with Crisis, Generation Rent and Citizens UK set out how a reform of private renting is desperately overdue and raises concerns that several parts of the Tenant Fees Bill have been watered down.

As the Bill passes through its parliamentary stages, the Mayor is calling on ministers to make the following amendments:

  • capping rental deposits at three weeks’ rent, and holding deposits at one day’s rent.
  • scrapping provisions for new and potentially exploitative ‘default fees’ to be written into tenancy agreements, and for ‘charges to enact a change of sharer’ which will fall disproportionately on renters living in shared housing.
  • deterring bad behaviour by increasing the penalties councils can charge for illegal fees to £30,000, and by enabling tenants to directly claim back prohibited payments along with compensation worth up to three times the fee paid.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘Rising rents, ongoing insecurity, and in too many cases poor quality housing make the 2.4 million private renters in London amongst those worst-affected by the housing crisis.

‘By backtracking on proposals and watering down the strength of this Bill, Ministers are in danger of opening the door to an entirely new culture of exploitation, with the legislation left unfit for purpose and simply a missed opportunity to truly help renters.

Hannah Gretton, Community Organiser at Citizens UK, added: ‘Affordable housing is an issue that concerns many of our members. The Tenants Fees Bill has the opportunity to prevent millions of renters in London from being exploited by hidden fees and bad landlords, but unfortunately the current plans do not go far enough.

‘Tenants paying such extortionate hidden fees is completely unacceptable. We’re urging the government to scrap potentially exploitative default fees and give Councils the stronger enforcement powers to deter criminal landlords.’


Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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