The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for the Tenant Fees Bill to be tightened up even more and the few remaining fees letting agents can charge tenants under its terms to be banned.
The mayor also says the fine agents can be charged for non-compliance should be raised to £30,000, from £5,000 and that that ministers have ‘backtracked’ on promises to cap deposits at four weeks’ rent made during its consultation process.
This follows the latest modifications to the bill, which will now cap deposits at six weeks’ rent. Khan also says the bill does not prevent letting agents charging tenants fees via higher rents spread over a whole tenancy rather than up-front.
Tenant fees bill
The bill will also enable agents to continue charging for basics services such as responding to emergency call-outs “that should be covered by the management fee landlords have already paid”, he says.
Khan claims these measures mean the Bill “opens the door to an entirely new culture of exploitation” and has called for the government to amend to the Bill to cap deposits at three weeks and holding deposits at one day’s rent, banning default fees and also increasing the maximum fine for agents who charges illegal fees.
“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,” says Hannah Gretton, Community Organiser at Citizens UK (pictured, left).
“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.”