Last night, the Government rejected a bid to have letting agent fees capped or banned in a debate called by a Tory MP who hit out out at letting agents charging “arbitrary and exploitative fees”.
Conservative MP for Lewes Maria Caulfield called for the fees to be capped.
She made her views clear on the Politics Home website shortly before last night’s Parliamentary adjournment debate on the issue.
She earlier told Politics Homes that fees charged by letting agents in the south east have become “unsafe” and claimed that they are forcing residents to leave the area.
The MP alleged: “This seems to be an industry of making money out of tenants. There’s such a disparity between the lowest and the highest fees. There doesn’t seem to be any rationale for why these charges are so high.
“Letting agents know that people are desperate to secure somewhere, so they take advantage of that. If you’re going to see three or four properties, that could mean money-down on each of them just to get a viewing. That feels very unsafe to me.”
She called for a code of conduct which she claimed would be “similar to the rules landlords have to follow”.
It was not clear what she meant.
She also said she wants to see regulation around the length of the tenancy, adding: “Six months works for some people, for others that want a longer tenancy, six months is just an excuse for letting agents to introduce another fee, and often review the rents and put them up. So I think there does need to be some work around that.”