Even though the government has promised to ban letting fees, our crowdsourced research project at lettingfees.co.uk continues to build up a picture of renter exploitation around the country. Renters in Bournemouth and Brighton & Hove now have an online comparison of letting fees in their area, which will help them avoid the rogues who are either charging excessive fees or just not publishing theirs.Read more
We have put in our response to the government’s consultation on banning orders – the new mechanism to prevent criminals from operating in the rental market. That’s right, they aren’t banned already.
The government has asked what types of offences should be banworthy, and set a deadline of midnight tonight.
We asked our supporters for their experiences earlier in the week, dozens of you responded, and the feedback has helped shape our response to the government.Read more
There was some extra cash for "affordable" housing in Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement, but there was only really one big story from today:
The Government is going to ban letting fees!
This is a phenomenal achievement and the result of a tireless campaign over recent years by us, Shelter, Citizens Advice, the Debrief and local renter groups around the country.
Dozens of us investigated our local letting agents to build up the case for reform on www.lettingfees.co.uk. Thousands of us signed petitions and wrote to our MPs and the government listened.Read more
The latest evidence is from the English Housing Survey, which revealed in July that up to 69% of tenants living in unsatisfactory homes are discouraged from moving out because of the cost of agent fees. It also suggests the scam is worth around £115m a year.*Read more
Michael Green is the founder of CaseHub.
Over the past six months, I have been working with some of the country’s leading barristers to put together a lawsuit that proves how most letting fees in England and Wales are unlawful.
The good news is that they agree.
We now need to take that case to court. The good news is that if it wins, renters will be entitled to get their letting fees back, and in future some of them might be stopped entirely.Read more
When we published our latest research on letting fees in April, we were expecting a long fight to get the issue of banning them back on the political agenda. The Housing and Planning Act, passed in May, contained no changes to the law on fees, and the only area of housing government is currently legislating on concerns planning.
We didn't have to wait for long though. Olly Grender, a Lib Dem peer, who fought for and won some protections for renters in the Housing Act, was selected to present a private member's Bill. Happily for us, she picked fees.Read more
This morning we have published six more areas on www.lettingfees.co.uk – Manchester, York, and four more London boroughs – Bromley, Camden, Lambeth and Wandsworth.
Flathunters in those areas can check to see which letting agents are charging the least, and which charge the most. These areas join four already in London, and bring the total number of letting agents covered by our website past 700.Read more
If you happen to be planning a move to (or within) the London boroughs of Croydon, Ealing, Tower Hamlets or Waltham Forest, then we might be able to save you a few hundred quid.
Volunteers in these areas have compiled a comprehensive list of local letting agents and their tenant fees at www.lettingfees.co.uk.
Tower Hamlets Renters have used their research to name and shame local agentsRead more
If you're thinking of moving to the north east London borough of Waltham Forest, be sure to check what letting fees you'd have to pay with each agent. Our friends at Waltham Forest Renters have published a list of all the area's letting agents and what fees they display online. A two-person household could find themselves paying between £150 and £792 depending on who they pick. The story has been picked up in the local press and by Londonist.
The issue of lettings agent fees is back in parliament next week with an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that would make it an offence to charge fees to tenants.Read more