South Yorkshire MP calls for a crackdown on rogue letting agents

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ROTHERHAM MP Sarah Champion has called for action to crack down on rogue letting agents.

Ms Champion demanded Government action on lettings agents who have unscrupulous practices and rip off clients with the fees they charge.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate organised at her request, the Labour MP quoted a report by the Citizens Advice Bureau, which found 73 per cent of tenants are dissatisfied with the service provided by their letting agent.

A national survey of letting agents found 94 per cent imposed additional charges on tenants on top of the tenancy deposit and rent or rent in advance.

It also found huge variation in the size of the charges.

Ms Champion told MPs the charge for checking references ranged from £10 to £275 and the charge for renewing a tenancy ranged from £12 to £220.

In some cases, additional charges amounted to more than £600.

She said: “The evidence shows too many tenants are being ripped off by rogue letting agents who fail to protect their money, and charge exorbitant fees which are completely opaque.

“Action to regulate lettings agents would benefit tenants and landlords, providing protection for their money. At present, it is possible to set up an agency with no qualifications.

“Currently, good landlords are being exploited and good letting agents undercut by rogues. This can’t continue.”