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Tenant Fees Bill: Lords hail OpenRent as future of industry

As bill passes through second reading in the Lords, government minister agrees online-only agency's model is "worth considering".

Nigel Lewis

The Tenant Fees Bill completed the latest stage of it approval in parliament yesterday when it passed through its second reading in the House of Lords unopposed.

During the Second Reading online letting agent OpenRent.co.uk received an endorsement as ‘worth looking at’, a point taken on board by government minister Lord Bourne.

“There have been suggestions that [this bill] will jeapordise the industry but I would urge anyone making that argument to look at the largest lettings agent in England and Wales, OpenRent.co.uk, who support this bill and who charge a flat fee to landlords,” said Baroness Grender.

“So it is entirely possible to grow and thrive in the market without the use of fees from tenants.”

The Second Reading was an opportunity for peers to debate the finer points of the clauses within the bill led by Lord Bourne (main pic, above) who is Parliamentary under Secretary at the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

This included scrutiny of when holding deposits may be withheld by a letting agent and a commitment by the government to look at the size of deposits, which are soon to be capped at eight weeks’ rent.

During Lord Bourne’s speech he also revealed that a decision on compulsory three-year tenancies has been bogged down by the 8,000 submissions that the government received during its consultation on the matter, but that a decision is due very soon.]

Agency chains

Lord Bourne also took a swipe at the larger estate agency firms, saying that both “well known high street chains” as well as rogue letting agents were charging both tenants and landlords for the same services.

“These charges create a further financial barrier within a system which is stacked against tenants many of whom are trying to save to buy their own home. It is a problem right across the country,” he said.

The government is also currently examining the existing and potential alternatives to cash deposits via a specialist work group which is due to report in the Spring of 2019, he revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 11, 2018

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