Today we’ve announced that we are banning letting fees. They’re unfair and take up to $47 million a year out of the pockets of families. Another step in our plan to make life better for renters. pic.twitter.com/1OeiWJtku3
— Phil Twyford (@PhilTwyford) March 22, 2018
“The letting agencies are working for the landlord, but in this case they’re charging the tenant and I don’t think there’s any good reason for it.”
“Letting fees are an unjustifiable tax on renters” Twyford said, describing them as a method of “gouging renters”.
“I don’t know of any other area of the law where two parties can contract for a provision of services but then charge a third party.”
The legislation should happen by the end of the year, and is part of a larger review of the Residential Tenancies Act. Which is just as well because it looks like some landlords need some special attention,
So you're going to increase the rent on your existing tenants? To cover a one off fee letting fee that they have presumably already paid?
— Honey Tee (@honeyTrappe) March 22, 2018
Abolishing letting fees is a no brainer, so good on Labour for getting that one sorted. With the rest of the reform it’s hard to say where Labour will fall between centering the human rights of tenants and protecting the investor classes,
“This review will examine a range of changes to make life better for renters and will include looking at limiting rent increases to once per year. It will also consider other initiatives to improve security of tenure and better allow tenants to make their house a home. The review is expected to result in legislation being introduced to Parliament by the end of the year.
It’s all very familiar. Labour will do good, enough good to keep those who are ok feeling good about it all, but it’s unlikely that those most affected will be given the security they need. I’m curious to see what Labour come up with having heard rumours that Twyford might be listening better than expected. So perhaps there is an opportunity here for the left to further organise around tenancy rights and hold Labour accountable.