Enforcement by local weights and measures authorities

Part of Tenant Fees Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:25 am ar 12 Mehefin 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 9:25, 12 Mehefin 2018

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Sharma. I look forward to our making speedy progress today.

The Bill proposes a number of enforcement measures that offer a strong deterrent to irresponsible agents and landlords and, in doing so, protects tenants from unfair letting fees. Clause 6 places a duty on local weights and measures authorities—that is, trading standards authorities—to enforce the ban on letting fees and requirements relating to holding deposits. Trading standards have an important role in enforcing existing legislation on letting agents—such as the requirement on agents to display their fees transparently. With their existing local knowledge of the industry, trading standards are the clear choice to enforce the ban on letting fees. Indeed, 69% of respondents to the Government consultation agreed that trading standards should enforce the provisions of the Bill. We have also spoken to trading standards officers, who agree that enforcement of the Bill aligns with their responsibilities to enforce other legislation relating to fair trading and consumer protection.

Trading standards authorities are responsible for enforcement in their own local areas. Where a breach occurs in the area of more than one trading standards authority, a breach is considered to have occurred in each of the relevant local areas. Trading standards must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State or lead enforcement authority. The investigatory powers available to a local trading standards authority for the purpose of enforcing the Bill are set out in schedule 5 to the Consumer Rights Act 2015.