The housing market is always changing and expanding, and more people are now renting privately than ever. However, with the increase in demand comes an increase in the amount of letting agents who are willing to try and get as much money as they can.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's warning this week that the housing market represents the principle threat to the economic recovery created a media shock, but little response from those in power. This displays a lack of understanding at senior levels of the scale and immediacy of this threat.
There is one year until the 2015 General Election and housing will be a central issue. We are deep in a housing crisis and radical action will be needed, whoever is in government once the votes are counted.
We've had a number of requests to publish the list of how MPs voted in the failed bid to outlaw letting agent fees to tenants. You can see the full list here.
This campaign isn't dead though. We'll be working with enlightened Peers to bring this back in the Lords. Unlike MPs, Lords don't get their letting agent fees paid on expenses so we're expecting more support.
You may have seen us on Channel 4 News recently discussing their investigation into rent-to-rent landlord Daniel Burton. Just to update you, we met yesterday with the heads of all three schemes to discuss how tenants can be protected from people like Burton.
We had a very productive meeting and we will continue to discuss a range of ideas on issues around the Daniel Burton story. We'll let you know how these discussions progress.
The Government yesterday backed letting agents over renters by refusing to ban fees to tenants. In voting on the Consumer Rights Bill, Conservative and LibDem whips defeated the ban 281 to 228. The Government instead promised new fines for agents who don’t publish their fee tariff.
On Tuesday 13th May MPs will be voting on an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that will ban letting agent fees to tenants.
Please sign up to our campaign here and use the form below to write to your MP asking them to back this amendment. You can edit the text of the draft letter below if you like. Just click on it to edit.
Supply and demand.
Oh you wanted more than that? Ok.
There is short supply and high demand for homes to rent. The balance between these forms a price that a tenant is willing to pay a landlord. So far not controversial.
However, that is not how the relationship between tenant and agent is characterised. At the time of signing a contract, the agent is the gatekeeper to a single home with any number of keen tenants. The agent is not an actor in the market for homes to rent but a creator of micro-monopolies for single homes.
With the news that private renters could hold the deciding vote in 86 seats at next year's election, political parties are realising that they need to win them over.
First to make a move is Labour, whose leader, Ed Miliband, will announce plans on Thursday to introduce new laws to:
- extend the standard length of a tenancy to 3 years
- ban letting agent fees
- cap rent rises