Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Letting Away with it - 1 in 4 tenants ripped off by letting agents

New research by Shelter has found that almost one in four British people have been ripped off by a letting agent. In a YouGov poll of 5379 adults commissioned by the housing charity, 23% - equivalent to 11 million people - said they had been charged unfair fees by letting agents in England.

We have seen letting agents in Accrington align themselves with landlords whom the Council has had continual complaints about from tenants. Landlords who have numerous problem properties. Together they have resisted regulations brought in by Hyndburn's Labour Councillors that will improve the quality of private rented accommodation.

Shelter are a fantastic national charity and I would urge anyone with a housing a problem to contact Shelter first to draw on their vast experience and compassionate advice. Hyndburn Council under Labour and Citizens Advice Bureau (located at New Era) are also there to help.

It is vital that we protect vulnerable people and it is reasonable to expect that every home that is let meets a decency standard. It is appalling that our young children are brought up in damp, draughty often dangerous properties. Some of those I have witnessed you would not let you dog live in, yet these landlords can afford to drive around in big cars and live in expensive properties. Young children are innocent victims in all of this and should be protected from the activities of lettings agents and landlords.

Tenants stories

Opinion piece on Shelter.

Jack Dromey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, responding to new research by Shelter which shows one in four Britons are ripped off by letting agents, said:

These shocking new findings show why Labour is calling for action to tackle unscrupulous lettings agents who rip-off tenants by charging them fees they didn’t know they would face, and who exploit landlords and tenants alike by failing to protect the money they hold for them.

As the growing housing crisis and double dip recession put the one million families in the private rented sector under pressure, the last thing they need is to be ripped-off by unscrupulous letting agents. And yet this out of touch Government stands by and does nothing.

Landlords, tenants and many professional letting agents have all called on the Government to take action, but Grant Shapps has said he believes the current arrangements to be satisfactory. Tenants and landlords will quite rightly be asking what planet the housing minister lives on.

Please click here to download Labour's Policy Review document, "Private Rented Housing".