‘SOME LETTING AGENTS CHARGING £500 REGISTRATION FEES’ – MP CALLS FOR ACTION / MAYOR OF LONDON AND TfL START SEARCH FOR PROPERTY PARTNERS / ESSEX MAN TRIED TO PURCHASE LAMBETH COUNCIL HOME UNDER ‘RIGHT TO BUY’ LEGISLATION
‘SOME LETTING AGENTS CHARGING £500 REGISTRATION FEES’ – MP CALLS FOR ACTION
Croydon North MP Steve Reed has demanded a better deal for people who rent private flats.
Speaking in the House of Commons he asked the housing minister why the Government won’t act against rip-off letting agents.
Mr Reed referred to research conducted by the Labour Party in Croydon North that showed renters are being clobbered with multiple fees that in some cases total more than £1,000.
Croydon North has one of the highest levels of people renting from private landlords in London.
Mr Reed told Parliament: “a survey conducted in Croydon North showed some letting agents charging registration fees as high as £500, hundreds more in finder’s fees and hundreds more for simply handling the deposit.”
“Why are the Government not standing up for hard-pressed renters against rip-off letting agents?”
Steve Reed commented: “It’s crystal clear the Tories both nationally and locally don’t want to see tenants get a fair deal.
“They always stand up for the minority of landlords who rip tenants off rather than work with Labour to put sensible safeguards in place.”
A statement from Mr Reed’s office added that Croydon’s newly elected Labour council has recently announced plans to set up a register so tenants can identify those landlords offering a fair deal and those who might rip them off.
“The register would benefit both tenants and honest landlords offering decent quality accommodation. “Croydon Conservatives responded by calling a meeting of landlords to try and block plans to help tenants.”
MAYOR OF LONDON AND TfL START SEARCH FOR PROPERTY PARTNERS
The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have launched a search for property development partners as part of an “ambitious programme” to generate £3.4bn in non-fares revenue over the next decade.
The revenue generated will be reinvested back into the transport network and help TfL and the Mayor to bear down on fares, say TfL.
“TfL owns around 5,700 acres of property in London, making it one of London’s largest landowners.
“To realise the maximum value of its assets to generate long-term revenue to reinvest back into the transport network, it has launched a tender through the official journal of the European Union (OJEU) to identify a number of framework development partners.
“The tender will enable TfL to take forward 50+ sites with development potential across the capital.
“TfL will be seeking submissions from organisations who can demonstrate their capability as developers to support the strategy of delivering the homes, offices and services that London needs.
“The sites that TfL will bring forward will have around 10 million square feet of development potential.”
TfL say it has a unique range and scale of assets within its property portfolio which include:
Listed buildings that offer the opportunity for residential conversion;
Mixed use and residential developments over stations and depots;
Major regeneration schemes in urban centres;
Brownfield developments in inner and outer London.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The ambitious plans to redevelop some of TfL’s land and assets presents a fantastic opportunity to support this important work and ensure public land creates homes for Londoners.’
Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, said: “We have a large number of fantastic assets in superb locations across the capital, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for leading developers to help us transform this city.
“We’re looking for developers who will help us realise the long-term value of our estate whilst creating the houses, jobs and economic growth to support London’s growing population.”
•A video explaining why TfL is taking this new approach is available athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8tGcubHBMo&feature=youtu.be
•Further information and access to the PQQ are available at www.tfl.gov.uk/property-partnerships (Source: Transport for London press release.)
ESSEX MAN TRIED TO PURCHASE LAMBETH COUNCIL HOME UNDER ‘RIGHT TO BUY’ LEGISLATION
AN ESSEX MAN has pleaded guilty to fraud over an attempt to purchase a Lambeth council property under Right to Buy legislation.
The 60-year-old applied to purchase a property at Phil Brown Place on the Heath Road Estate SW8 under the Right to Buy scheme – when he was not even living in London, said Lambeth council.
“Had the sale gone through, he would have netted a discount on the purchase price of the property of £100,000” they added.
The case was referred to Lambeth council’s fraud team as there were concerns that the man was subletting the property.
They established that he was:
actually living in Romford at a property owned by his wife
was registered to vote there and
was also registered there with the NHS, insurance companies, various government agencies and his employer.
The man claimed he was living at Phil Brown Place and was therefore entitled to purchase it as a discount under the Right to Buy scheme.
But interviewed under caution by Lambeth officers, the weight of evidence against him led to his right to buy claim being refused and he was ordered by the courts to give up the Lambeth tenancy.
He was charged with fraud by false representation in relation to the Right To Buy, in that Phil Brown Place was not his only or principal home, and with fraud by failing to disclose to Lambeth council the fact that he was not living there.
Cllr Matthew Bennett, Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing said: “This is another excellent example of the work of Lambeth’s fraud team and underlines the council’s commitment to come down hard on cheats and frauds.
“This property could have been used to house a family, not to line the pockets of a crook like him.
“Not content with making money out of subletting the property illegally, he wanted to get £100,000 discount on buying the house.
“I hope this send a very clear message to people who think they can get away with this sort of appalling behaviour.”
In court,the man admitted failing to disclose to the council that he was not living at Phil Brown Place and at Blackfriars Crown Court he was sentenced to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 and a victim surcharge of £60.
This is in addition to the £7,321 costs awarded against him when the courts ordered that he should surrender possession of his tenancy. (Source: Lambeth council press release.)