Citizens Advice responds to housing committee’s report into renters’ fees
MPs on the housing select committee have today (Thursday) released their report into the Tenant Fees Bill in which they say a clause that allows landlords to charge “default fees” is open to abuse.
Renters could be required to pay these fees if they default on part of their tenancy agreement, by paying their rent late or breaching a condition in their contract.
Citizens Advice is concerned this could be exploited as fees the Government is seeking to abolish, such as inventory checks or exit fees, will simply be written into tenancy contracts and reframed as breaches of agreement.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“The Government’s pledge to ban fees paid by renters is absolutely right. Yet this goal risks being fundamentally undermined by a loophole that could be used by unscrupulous landlords and agents to charge tenants fees through the backdoor.
“The committee recognises that default fees are open to abuse, but their solutions do not go far enough.
“Each month renters are paying more than £13 million in unfair and unaffordable fees, which would mean a total of more than £200 million since a ban was first announced in November 2016.
“The Government must act quickly and commit to removing this default fees clause, creating a Bill that will achieve its aim of a fairer and more affordable lettings market.”
Notes to editors
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
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- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
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