Politician urges 'secret shopping' to name and shame rogue agents

Wednesday 4th January 2017

One of London’s leading politicians has created guidelines to help individuals ‘secret shop’ in a bid to expose what she claims are ‘rogue letting agents.’
Sian Berry, a Green member of the London Assembly and the party’s candidate in last year’s Mayoral election in the capital, claims a survey she conducted in 2016 suggested that more than 1,500 private renters ranked ‘investigating bad landlords and letting agents’ as the highest priority for a potential renters union that Berry wants to create. 
Apparently over a third of those surveyed said they had been overcharged by agents.
“Bad letting agents cause just as many problems as rogue landlords. Renters need good information from the Mayor, so including agents on his ‘name and shame’ database is vital. My new guide - Getting Better Letting Agents - will help renters show the Mayor the need for action by checking out the good and bad practice in their area” she claims.
She says she will use the information from the secret shopping to feed into the formal consultation process on banning agents’ fees levied on tenants. This was promised by Phillip Hammond in last year’s Autumn Statement, and the official consultation is expected to start later this month. 
“The uncompetitive nature of fees – where tenants are unable to shop around – means too many agents exploit us with sky-high and last-minute fees” she claims.
You can see Berry’s guide here - interestingly she appears to think that there are only two official redress schemes...

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