Yesterday the Consumer Rights Bill continued its progress through Parliament – in the House of Lords.
As we’ve said before, it’s wise not to ignore what goes on in the Lords – where there’s a Tory majority, and an over-representation of their sidekicks, the LibDems.
This time, Labour was proposing amendments on Housing – specifically to protect private tenants from double charging by rip-off letting agents and estate agents, but also to protect tenants’ deposits.
There were three votes.
In every one, as usual the LibDems voted – to a man and woman – with their Tory friends.
Emma Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, responding to the votes on Labour’s amendments, said:
“It’s very disappointing that Lib Dem and Tory Peers failed to back Labour’s measures to tackle rip-off letting and estate agents.
“Tonight Labour stood up for consumers who want a fairer housing market but the Lib Dems and Tories failed to do the same.
“The next Labour Government will ban letting agent fees on tenants, end the practice of double charging and improve consumer protection.”
Stella Creasy MP, Labour’s Shadow Consumer Affairs Minister, added:
“There is a clear conflict of interest when an agent can charge two people for the same service- Labour has a clear plan for addressing these problems.
“By their opposition to these proposals this Government has shown it has no understanding of the impact of the rip off fees estate agents and letting agents charge and it is consumers who end up paying an extortionate price for their failure to act.”
Their LibDem and Tory Lordships may not have noticed it, but there’s a housing crisis in this country at the moment. And the young are especially hard hit, including by the actions of those cashing in on their problems.
In the end the only answers will come from Labour’s massive house-building programme.
But, in the meantime, we need to do something to protect those being ripped off in a failed market.
No point looking to the Tories, or their LibDem lackeys, for any help there, though.
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