Thu 22 October 2020

The Renters’ Union, ACORN will ‘put letting agents on notice’ with actions across the country.

By Ross Morris

On Saturday 1st the government will introduce the Tenant Fees Act that will make it illegal in England for letting agents to charge tenants with letting fees for administration, inventory or guarantors.

ACORN will mark the date with a series of direct actions that aim to ensure that letting agents uphold the new law. “Seize the fees”, which is taking place in Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, will see activists ask letting agents to pledge to “honour the spirit of the letting fees ban” and agree to not mislead any tenants or take of advantages of any legal loopholes.

There is a precedent for letting agents attempting to circumvent similar bans. In Scotland, a letting fee ban was introduced in 2012, but some agents continued to charge tenants fees illegally. Scotland’s tenants’ union, Living Rent has claimed that the ban has been “largely unenforced” by authorities.

ACORN sees The Tenant Fees Act as a significant victory for renters. “We welcome the ban on letting agency fees,” says ACORN’s National Organiser, Nick Ballard. “For too long have these been the scourge of tenants everywhere, with letting agencies charging multiple, extortionate and often unnecessary fees for carrying out the simplest of administrative tasks.”

The tenants’ union, who have been campaigning to outlaw letting fees, says the introduction of the Tenants Act is the “result of years of hard work and campaigning by organised tenants’ groups.”As the ban is introduced, the effects should soon begin to be felt by renters across England. Ann, a private renter said, “I am over the moon that fees will be banned. They are a total rip off. I’ve been stuck in a place that’s damp and has lots of problems, but can’t afford to move because of the high upfront cost of a deposit… and letting agent fees.” 

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