Council urges agents and landlords to join SEAL
Published Friday, 24th February 2017
Southend-on-Sea’s leading housing councillor has welcomed Government plans to ban letting agent fees, and is also encouraging local letting agents and landlords to join SEAL.
The recent announcement in the Government’s White Paper - “Fixing our broken housing market” - sets out national proposals for future housing legislation and within it they have included proposals to ban letting agents fees for those renting in the Private Rented Sector.
Cllr Mark Flewitt, Executive Councillor for Housing, says: “These fees are often exorbitant and unnecessary, and can make what is already a difficult and expensive process that much more difficult and unattainable for local people.
“I am therefore very pleased that the Chancellor indicated recently that the Government will put legislation in place in 2018 to ban letting agent fees. I believe there is cross party support on this matter, and in recent months locally we have considered motions raised by Cllrs Davies and Cllr Callaghan, who have campaigned on this issue too.
“A consultation paper will be issued by the Government shortly which will set out the details of their proposals and it’s likely that any new legislation will be in place by the end of this year. However, until the legislation is in place, letting agents and landlords are within their rights to charge fees, but they should be clearly displayed on their websites and at their offices.
“Along with the national legislation we are keen locally to encourage as many landlords and letting agents to join SEAL which works very hard to ensure clear, good and fair standards and practices are achieved in the private rented sector. I would urge anyone not already signed up to do the right thing and register with them now.”
SEAL was initially set up in response to selective licensing, but now has a formal partnership with the Council to improve the standard of accommodation within privately rented properties, and reduce anti-social behavior (ASB) throughout SEAL managed properties.
Being a member of SEAL already gives agents and landlords huge benefits in this unique partnership, an innovative landmark initiative, and is being closely monitored by other Councils around the country. SEAL also benefits the tenant through identification stickers that Members put into their rented or managed properties. The tenant or resident is able to contact SEAL using the phone help line to tackle any anti-social behavior at the property, who can contact the Member to notify them of any such issues that need to be managed before they escalate to the detriment of the property and the neighborhood.