Avoiding discrimination – a guide for letting agents and landlords
Avoiding discrimination – a guide for letting agents and landlords

This blog was written jointly with Rose Arnall in Shelter’s Legal Services.

The launch of our campaign to end DSS discrimination against renters on housing benefit has suggested that some landlords and letting agents may not be fully up to speed on how their policies could be putting them at risk of breaching the Equality Act 2010.

So we’ve put together some top tips to advise landlords and agents on how best to avoid discrimination.

Avoiding direct discrimination 

Most landlords … Read more

Ending DSS Discrimination
Ending DSS Discrimination

‘On benefits’. We live in a society which has given those two words an unwelcome significance they don’t deserve. Free state education, using the NHS, assistance from the police, relying on the basic state pension, we all often depend on the state stepping in to help us live full lives. The welfare state and the benefit system exists to do the same thing. And yet we’ve become comfortable as a society with the idea that ‘on benefits’ denotes a different … Read more

Letting fees bill - the parliamentary journey so far
Letting fees bill - the parliamentary journey so far

Despite all the pressures that Brexit is placing on parliamentary time, the Tenant Fees Bill has been making rapid progress through parliament. While this speedy parliamentary journey may be good for moving the bill closer towards implementation, we shouldn’t forget there are still areas of the legislation (as currently drafted) that will leave private renters open to continuing exploitation.

Here’s our update on the parliamentary journey so far, which sets out the areas the government still needs to address … Read more

How much?! Your top 10 worst letting fees
How much?! Your top 10 worst letting fees

There’s something to celebrate for private renters: the government’s hotly anticipated ban on letting fees is approaching its second reading. Because for too long, renters have been ripped off – shelling out £272 per person (on average) in fees. Together with our supporters, we’ve campaigned for years to stop this, so we’re delighted to see the government taking action through the Tenant Fees Bill.

Letting agents, and some landlords, aren’t quite so jubilant. Their days of charging outrageous fees are … Read more

Let’s stop letting agents unfairly holding on to holding deposits
Let’s stop letting agents unfairly holding on to holding deposits

We recently shared Emily’s story which highlights just how easily holding deposits can be abused. Emily was forced to take a letting agent to court because they refused to refund a £700 holding deposit. And even though Emily won the case, the letting agent still hasn’t paid up.

The good news is that the government is now planning to cap holding deposits at one week’s rent – this is one of the proposals in the draft Tenant Fees Bill, … Read more

The government is taking action to protect private renters (part 2)
The government is taking action to protect private renters (part 2)

This is the second post in a two-part blog exploring how the government is taking action to improve protections for private renters. Part one considered the impact of the introduction of banning orders and the rogue landlord database. In this part, we turn to the issue of letting-agent regulation.

Here’s an update on the main changes for the lettings sector and what more we want to see the government doing to ensure there are no loopholes, through which letting agents … Read more

The government is taking action to protect private renters (part 1)
The government is taking action to protect private renters (part 1)

The government’s drive to improve private renting has got a spring in its step. Not only has the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published its next steps for bringing in letting agent regulation and mandatory client money protection, but banning orders and the rogue landlord and letting agent database, as promised in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, come into force this week.

Over two blogs we’ll look at how, together with the ban on letting agent … Read more

Letting Agents admit they’ll exploit loophole in draft Tenant Fees Bill
Letting Agents admit they’ll exploit loophole in draft Tenant Fees Bill

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has published its report on the draft Tenant Fees Bill, which will ban letting fees to tenants. The Committee has been tasked with scrutinising the bill before it’s formally introduced to Parliament and making recommendations about how to strengthen it.

To help do this, the committee received evidence from a wide range of organisations, including letting agents, landlord bodies and tenant groups. We submitted written evidence and then gave oral evidence at the … Read more

The draft bill banning letting fees is under scrutiny
The draft bill banning letting fees is under scrutiny

The government’s draft bill banning letting fees is currently being scrutinised by the Communities and Local Government Committee. We have submitted evidence to the committee, which together with evidence from other organisations, will help inform the committee’s recommendations about what the final version of the bill should look like.

Here is a summary of our main recommendations to the committee about the different proposals in the Bill.

The ban on upfront fees

Shelter is very supportive of the ban … Read more

So, what's the latest on the Letting Fees ban?

We have campaigned since 2013 to ban letting agent fees – launching our ‘Letting Away With It’ campaign, which quickly received 13,000 signatures of support from people all across the country. We even produced a video highlighting just how ridiculous the fees are within the context of buying a coffee – you wouldn’t pay for fees like ‘receipt printing’ and ‘water renewal’ at a café, so why should you pay for similar charges when renting?

With the announcement of the … Read more

You won't believe this totally mind-blowing method of reducing your letting agent fees!

Letting agent fees are one of the most painful aspects of renting. Every time you move, whether into or out of a home, you’re hit with a ludicrous list of fees. And they don’t come cheap either.

One of the most ridiculous, is the dreaded administration fee for changing the name on a tenancy agreement when people move out of a shared rental property. This can cost anything up to £300.

Driven to despair, I’ve developed an ingenious, fool-proof method … Read more

What's really happened to rents in Scotland?

Last week, Estate Agent LSL Property Services used the release of their Buy-to-Let index to claim that the ban on letting fees in Scotland has caused a ‘rent hike’. This didn’t sound quite right to us at Shelter, so we decided to go away and take a closer look.

Tell me more.

When we looked more closely at LSL’s index- we found that their own figures did not stack up against this claim of a ‘rent hike’.

LSL have reported… Read more