The Debrief is celebrating helping to bring about a landmark parliamentary ruling on the ban of unregulated agency rental fees. The news was announced today in the Government’s Autumn statement.
The Debrief launched its Make Renting Fair campaign back in April gathering over almost 260,000 signatures on a petition in a bid to overturn unregulated letting agency fees in England and save ‘Generation Rent’ thousands of pounds. In their Autumn Statement the Government has announced that banning these fees will help the 4.3 million households who make up the private rental sector.
With the current generation of renters finding it virtually impossible to buy property due to inflated housing costs, The Debrief highlighted these sporadic fluctuations in letting fees from one agency to another and asked for politicians and government to put an end to these unfair charges which are already banned in Scotland. Today’s landmark victory paves the way to help those currently stuck in today’s housing crisis of unaffordable accommodation.
The campaign was supported by a wealth of high profile supporter’s including: Baroness Olly Grender , Sadiq Khan, The Mayor of London, Tom Brake MP
The campaign saw The Debrief campaign outside Westminster and deliver the petition to Brandon Lewis, Minister of State for Housing and Planning and today’s ruling sets the agenda for fairer housing costs for renters.
According to Shelter 1 in 4 people in England and Wales have been charged unfair fees and more than half of people who used a letting agency experienced financial difficulties because of them. Moreover, 1 in 7 have been charged over £500 in fees and 27% have had to borrow or use a loan to fund the fees.
The campaign was fronted by The Debrief’s Feature’s Editor, Vicky Spratt, herself a long-term renter increasingly frustrated with paying out for uncapped fees. Vicky spoke alongside the Housing Minister at Conservative Party Conference in October. She has been able to raise this issue, on behalf of the Debrief’s readers, and everyone who signed the petition, with those who can make a difference.
Vicky Spratt says:
‘I, personally, have moved nearly ten times since the age of 18 which has cost me thousands in letting agency fees. I want to read the policy’s small print but I am glad that people were no longer be stung by these ridiculous charges. When we started this campaign we wanted to draw attention to the fact that buying a house is becoming harder and harder for millennials and highlight how out of control this country’s private rental market is. Working alongside the Liberal Democrats we’ve shown that the weight of public opinion is behind renting reform.
‘While successive governments were looking the other way private landlords and letting agencies have been allowed to take advantage of those who cannot afford to own their own home. There’s no silver bullet for the housing crisis, but this is a big step forward towards making housing work for tenants. The benefits of this will be felt by people all across the country. It also shows that this government is finally starting to take the needs of young people seriously and demonstrates that what is so often dismissed as ‘clicktivism’ actually works!’
Baroness Olly Grender says:
‘Our relentless campaigning to get tenants’ letting fees banned has finally paid off and the Government has recognised this is the right thing to do. The upfront costs of renting are far too high, pushing many people into debt just to pay the fees, and stopping others from being able to move into a rented home.’
‘It’s no coincidence that just five days after the debate on our Renters’ Rights Bill, which urged the Government to ban these fees, they have agreed to make this important change. Now they must agree to our calls to make renting safer and more secure too.’
For interview opportunities with Vicky Spratt or Rebecca Holman please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 208 3519
Notes to Editors
‘Make Renting Fair’ Index
In Scotland it has been illegal to charge ‘premiums’ – fees charged at the start of a tenancy, in addition to rent and a deposit – to renters since 1984. However, this law wasn’t really enforced until it was clarified and reinforced by the Scottish government in 2012.
Shelter have produced a report on how people in Scotland have benefited from this
The Citizens Advice Bureau agree - Last year they published a report recommending that letting agents’ fees be banned – they said ‘tenants are frequently ripped-off by fees often hidden by letting agents – to the tun of £337 on average.’
- There are 9 million renters in England
- The average age of a first time buyer is now 31, that’s up from 28 in 1995 according to figures from Halifax. People are renting for longer because buying is too expensive
- The average first-time buyer needs a salary of £41,000 to buy property nationwide, and more than £70,000 in London).
- 52% of those first time buyers would have had family help according to new research from the Sunday Times.
- Since 1969, house prices for first time buyers have increased by 48 times, far out-pacing incomes which have grown only 29 times.
- The average salary in the UK for a 20-24 year-old is £16,400, for 25-29 year-olds it’s 22,700. The overall national average salary is £26,500.  HMRC/ONS figures
- A third of all privately rented households are made up of families with children, one in five English families are now renting their home from a private landlord.