It was really disappointing this week to not see any Proposed Member Bill (PMB) selected on banning letting agent fees.
PMBs are a chance for backbench Assembly Members (i.e. those that aren’t part of the Welsh Government, although do include Labour backbenchers) to put forward ideas for legislation. If they can get enough support across the parties, they can get their own Bill passed.
Five AMs put forward ones to ban letting agent fees, after a debate a few months ago showed universal, cross-party support for the idea. Even UKIP, who actually tabled the debate, want to ban them. Three Labour AMs (Jenny Rathbone, Julie Morgan and Mike Hedges) and two UKIP AMs (Gareth Bennet and David Rowlands) put them forward but, unfortunately, it’s just a lottery. 5 out of 29 did not give us very good odds and a Bill from Plaid Cymru about historical place names got picked instead.
We won’t get another ballot until much later in the year. But now it’s been confirmed that the Welsh Government not only has the powers to ban letting fees but actually agrees with it, ‘in principle’. We simply don’t know what they’re waiting for. It was even in the UK Labour manifesto in 2015.
Join us in campaigning for them to be banned as soon as possible. No more dithering. No more waiting. No more ridiculous fees for tenants that are ripped off enough already.
The Housing Minister, Carl Sargeant, has indicated that he will do something. Eventually. The First Minister said they will probably follow suit when England does it. Whenever that happens. Let’s make it happen sooner.