Very informative news for landlords courtesy of the Independent that we feel is essential to share with our readers.
Labour is seeking to significantly increase the fines rogue landlords are forced to pay if they rip off tenants.
The party wants to amend draft laws to introduce tougher penalties on landlords and letting agents who charge tenants unfair fees.
MPs will today (06/09/2018) vote on a government bill to improve tenants’ rights, but Labour says it does not go far enough.
The party has tabled a motion that would see unscrupulous landlords handed a £30,000 fine for first offences, and an unlimited fine for any further offences.
It said the money raised through the fines could help local councils step up efforts to clamp down on rogue landlords.
Labour tabled the two Commons amendments ahead of votes on the government’s Tenant Bees Bill, which bans landlords and letting agents from charging tenants fees.
The first would close a loophole that allows rogue landlords to charge tenants hundreds of pounds in fines if they breach their tenancy agreement.
The second would significantly increase fines that can be imposed, removing a proposed £5,000 cap on the amount landlords can be forced to pay.
Melanie Onn, Labour’s shadow housing minister, said:
“Labour welcomes this long-awaited bill, but as it stands it will be a missed opportunity to ban unfair fees for good.
“Labour’s changes would ensure that landlords and agents cannot get around the bill by sneaking unfair fees into tenancy agreements and help make funding available to catch those who don’t play by the rules.
“Labour is committed to providing a new deal for the 4.7 million households who rent in England. Only with our amendments will this legislation lives up to its objectives.”
Under the government’s proposed penalties, landlords and letting agents would only be fined up to £5,000 if they are found to have imposed unfair charges on tenants. And, even if they are found to be in breach of the legislation, they could still have the right to tenants hundreds of pounds in fees if they move out.
The Tenant Fees Bill aims to strengthen renters rights’ and clamp down on rogue landlords, including by making it illegal to charge tenants fees. Housing charities have welcomed the changes but warned that they could be “undermined” by provisions that continue to allow landlords to charge tenants excessive fees if they default on their tenancy agreement.