News from Siân Berry: Mayor should put law-breaking letting agents on ‘name and shame’ list

14 December 2016

Mayor should 'name and shame' law-breaking letting agents

Struggling private renters need more help from the Mayor to be warned off London’s worst letting agents, says Green Assembly Member, Sian Berry.

Sian is asking Londoners to be ‘secret shoppers’ to build a picture of illegal letting agent practice across London, but wants the Mayor to step in too and include letting agents on his upcoming database of ‘rogue landlords’. [1]

In her  ‘Big Renter’s Survey’ earlier this year, more than 1,500 private renters ranked ‘investigating bad landlords and letting agents’ as the highest priority for a potential renters union, and over a third said they had been overcharged by agents in the past. [2]

The Chancellor announced in the autumn statement that the Government would seek to ban letting fees to tenants in England and Wales, following Scotland’s lead, and a consultation on these plans is expected early in 2017. [3]

Sian Berry said:

“Bad letting agents cause just as many problems as rogue landlords. Renters need good information from the Mayor, so including agents on his ‘name and shame’ database is vital.

“My new guide, Getting Better Letting Agents, will help London’s renters to show the Mayor the need for action by checking out the good and bad practice in their area as ‘secret shoppers’.

“Our evidence will also be important to combat objections to the Government’s plans to ban letting agent fees to tenants. When the consultation starts we can expect a big effort from the industry to stop these plans.

“The uncompetitive nature of fees – where tenants are unable to shop around – means too many agents exploit us with sky-high and last-minute fees.”

Notes to editors

[1] Sian Berry’s question to the Mayor asking for his database to include rogue letting agents will be submitted on 14 December: http://questions.london.gov.uk/QuestionSearch/searchclient/questions/question_291084

[2] Big Renters Survey results, October 2016: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/sian_berry_renter_survey_report_oct2016_final_1.pdf

[3] Autumn Statement, November 2016, section 4.13:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/autumn-statement-2016-documents/autumn-statement-2016

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