"Ban on letting agent fees a good start, but what we really need is a Bristol living rent"
Bristol Greens welcomed the announcement in the Autumn Statement that the government will consult on abolishing Letting Agents' Fees - a move that could save private tenants in Bristol around £50m per year.(1)
Tony Dyer, Green Party national spokesperson for local government said:
"The Green Party have been calling for unaffordable agency fees to be abolished for many years, something which has also been supported by Labour and the Lib-Dems. We have also long-campaigned for the introduction of smart rent controls and fixed tenancies. The fact that the Conservatives are finally catching up by consulting on abolishing letting agent's fees is a testament to the strength of the progressive argument for rental reform, and also a vindication of the campaigning of organisations such as Shelter, Crisis, Citizen's Advice, and, here in Bristol, Acorn. "
"But a ban on letting agent fees is only a first step for the many Bristolians struggling to pay extortionate rents. What we need now is a Bristol living rent that is based on people's incomes rather than on unsustainable market rents.”
Nick Ballard, Organiser at Acorn, said;
"This announcement has been a long time coming as millions of tenants struggle with these unjust and extortionate fees. ACORN has fought for an end to these fees since our very first campaign and this vindicates our members hard work and justified anger. Before we celebrate too much, it must be noted that this is still subject to consultation and has no projected timescales. All tenants must be ready to counter the inevitable fight back from the letting agent lobby who will use the consultation to try and stop this in its tracks. ACORN intends to be at the forefront of this movement. Join in at www.rentersrising.org.uk “
Charlie Bolton, leader of the Green councillor group said:
"Back in March 2015, I had the privilege to propose a Green Party motion to full council calling for Bristol to adopt Acorn's Ethical Letting Charter. Included in that charter was the recognition that the best letting agents would not charge tenants any agency fees. That motion was passed unanimously by all parties.”
“Although the banning of lettings agents fee is a welcome relief for those tenants who are charged them, private sector rents here in Bristol still remain unaffordable for an increasing proportion of Bristol families. I have already called on the Mayor to investigate a Bristol Living Rent and will be tabling a motion at the next Full Council where I hope to get cross-party support for the Green Party campaign to introduce a Living Rent across the city.”
© Image Ruth Sharville
1 £50m figure based on “Still Let Down” report by Crisis which estimates that half of landlords use letting agents, and 90% of letting agents charge fees, with the mean average fee being £337.