The secretary of state for Wales has called for greater protections for tenants and a crackdown on rogue landlords in Wales.
Welsh secretary Alun Cairns wants to see Wales follow England’s lead and ban letting agents in Wales from charging tenant fees, while he also wants to see the introduction of a range of measures designed to protect tenants from unfair practices.
He said: “Getting set up in a private tenancy can be eye-wateringly expensive. Not only must new tenants find thousands of pounds upfront for deposits and rent in advance – they also have to pay fees to letting agents for a range of administrative costs which can often run into the hundreds of pounds.
“This has been going on for far too long and, today, the UK Government is taking a stand by giving tenants in England more power to challenge extortionate fees and poor treatment. Wales must not get left behind.
“It is time that the Welsh Government followed the example being set in England and move quickly to protect tenants in Wales from unjust fees and rogue landlords.”
In August, the Welsh government released a report claiming that there is “no compelling evidence” for tenants to pay upfront letting agent fees or renewal costs to existing tenancies because “the large majority of the work undertaken by agents is work that the landlord would otherwise be doing themselves”.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive, National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), has released a short statement, stating: “NALS notes the Secretary of State for Wales’ call for the Welsh Government to take measures to protect tenants in Wales from unjust fees and rogue landlords and agents.
“In relation to fees, we believe that the majority of agents in Wales charge a fair fee for a fair service and we await the outcome of the consultation by the Welsh government on this issue.
“Wales already has full regulation of landlords and agents and therefore the regulatory organisation, Rent Smart Wales should by now be delivering the effective action necessary to ensure that tenants are offered the degree of protection they deserve and rogue landlords are exposed.”
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