Labour Parliamentary candidate for Wyre Forest, Dr Matt Lamb, adds support to consumers in the housing market by calling for a ban on the practice of double charging by Estate Agents, where agents charge both buyers and sellers fees for arranging the sale of the same property.
Responding to plans by Labour in Parliament to amend the Consumer Rights bill to protect people Dr Matt Lamb said:
“Everyone has heard horror stories about buying a home- but the kinds of behaviours we’re seeing now with fees and charges are fast becoming a nightmare. Charging buyers a fee on top of the price of their new home means they have to offer a lower price to sellers. The only people who do well out of these deals are the agents who get a nice fat fee from billing both the buyer and the seller.
“Its costs like these that can make it harder for people in Wyre Forest to get on and up the property ladder. That’s why I can’t believe the Government refused to listen to Labour’s calls to deal with this. They might be turning a blind eye to this, but we won’t - Labour has put forward plans to use the Consumer Rights Bill to end double charging.”
Parliament voted on Monday 16 June 2014 on Labour’s plans to end double charging. Labour’s Shadow Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs, Stella Creasy, has led efforts in Parliament to get a fair deal for both sellers and buyers by banning this practice and ensuring there is no conflict of interests where agents are acting for both parties. Tories and the Lib Dem Coalition MPs defeated the Labour amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that would have banned letting agents from double charging fees.
Labour's amendment was defeated by a majority of 53, 281 to 228, with all but three Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs present voting against it
Dr Matt Lamb also suggested residents who have seen these problems report them to the Property Ombudsman, stating :
“We have already reported the examples of these problems to the Property Ombudsman, but I also urge anyone in our community affected by these practices to complain as well so that we can gather more evidence of just how widespread these kinds of contracts and charges are.”
Dr Matt Lamb stated that the Property Ombudsman could be contacted on the following details: The Property Ombudsman Milford House 43-55 Milford Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2BP or via Telephone 01722 333306
1. In the last year, 1 million homes were bought in the UK, up from 930,000 In 2012.
2. ‘Sale by informal tender’ contracts involve using sealed bids to make offers on properties. Increasingly, estate agents are then charging the successful bidder an ‘introductory’ fee – in some cases of 2-2.5% of the property fee + VAT - as a ‘finders fee’ to the agent.
3. On 6th March 2014 the Government voted against proposals to allow this practice to challenged in court. The issue will be debated again in the House of Commons on Monday 16th June 2014 when all MPs will have the chance to vote for Labour’s plans to end double charging.
4. >From 1 April 2014 the regulation of all Estate Agents in England and Wales was transferred to Powys County Council Trading Standards. Labour also voted against this and called for a clear framework for alternative dispute resolution to be put in place to protect consumers.
Dr Matt Lamb, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Wyre Forest.