Majority public want to see letting agents’ fees regulated plus rent controls

A survey for the BBC’s popular Victoria Derbyshire programme has revealed that 76% of people want the lettings industry to be regulated, and 74% want rent controls.

The regulation that they want to see includes control over letting agent fees, lengths of contracts, deposits, and inventory checks.

Yesterday’s Victoria Derbyshire Show discussed the private rented sector and the results of its research.

The survey of 1,002 people also revealed that 69% want rent increases when a tenancy is renewed to be capped, while 63% want the standard minimum letting period to be increased to 12 months.

The accompanying BBC news story features three case studies, including a family with three children who have moved home ten times in the last 12 years, and a tenant given 28 days’ notice to leave his home of five years, and who struggled to find the money needed for a deposit, rent in advance plus agents’ fees for his next rental home.

Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, told the BBC that while the idea of rent controls may seem “attractive”, they would be a “disaster”.

He said: “All experience of them shows that they lead to landlords cutting investment or quitting the market, reducing both quality and choice for tenants. The way to moderate rents is to encourage investment and boost supply.

“There are already well over 400 regulations affecting the private rented sector, and the actions of successive governments is raising the cost of renting.

“The problem is not about a lack of regulations but proper enforcement of them, and we support local authorities in their efforts to root out criminal landlords.”

A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said: “This government is committed to creating a bigger, better private rented sector, with up to £10bn in government-backed guarantees to build more quality homes for rent.

“We are doing this without the need for excessive State regulation that would push up prices and make it far harder for people to find somewhere to rent.”

Meanwhile, the Valuation Office Agency yesterday released statistics on the private rental market in England.

It said that the median monthly rent between October 1, 2015, and September 30 this year was £650.

London had the highest median monthly rent at £1,473 and the north-east the lowest at £480.

The south-east had the second highest median monthly rent at £850.

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Written by: Houseladder