Todd Foreman, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset, challenges MP Jacob Rees-Mogg to vote for a ban on letting agent fees to tenants
Todd Foreman has today written to the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, an important seat for Labour in next year’s general election, calling on him to back Labour's amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill which would ban letting agent fees for tenants. The amendment will be debated later on Tuesday in the House of Commons, after which Labour will call a vote.
A recent report by the Resolution Foundation highlighted North East Somerset as having the highest rental prices in the South West region. Over 12,000 people in the local authority area renting privately, an increase of 49% since 2001.
A copy of the open letter is below.
Monday 12th May 2014
Nine million people are living in rented homes today, more than a million families, and more than two million children. With tenants in North East Somerset facing rip-off fees from lettings agents and insecure tenancies, Labour has announced the biggest change in a generation to make the system fairer for renters.
On Tuesday, MPs of all political parties will have the chance to implement an important part of this plan - banning letting agent fees to tenants.
Tenants are hit by huge upfront costs through unfair letting agent fees. A survey of letting agents found that 94 per cent imposed additional charges on tenants on top of the deposit and rent in advance. Fees are extremely variable, but on average tenants are forced to pay £355 to their lettings agents every time they move house with some paying as much as £500. These costs are putting addition pressure on renters with 54 per cent of people surveyed saying they faced financial difficulties covering fees.
The amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, to be voted on this Tuesday, will give all MPs the chance to stand with renters and make a real difference to their lives by banning letting fees to tenants.
I'm writing to call on you to support the amendment. The next Labour government will pass legislation to ban letting agent fees for tenants and to introduce longer-term tenancies with predictable rents. But on Tuesday all MPs will have a chance to stand for the nine million people who rent. If you fail to vote for the amendment, all those who rent in North East Somerset will be entitled to ask why you won't stand up for them.
In light of the public interest in this matter I am releasing a copy of this letter to the press.
Todd Foreman, Labour PPC for North East Somerset
North East Somerset Labour Party
48 Temple Street
Keynsham BS31 1EH