Session 2014 - 15
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Other Bills before Parliament


 
 

1

 

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

 
 

Monday 16 June 2014

 

Report Stage Proceedings

 

Consumer Rights Bill, As Amended


 

New Clauses and new schedules relating to parts 2 and 3

 

Secretary Vince Cable

 

Added  NC24

 

To move the following Clause—

 

“Duty of letting agents to publicise fees

 

(1)    

A letting agent must, in accordance with this section, publicise details of the

 

agent’s relevant fees.

 

(2)    

The agent must display a list of the fees—

 

(a)    

at each of the agent’s premises at which the agent deals face-to-face with

 

persons using or proposing to use services to which the fees relate, and

 

(b)    

at a place in each of those premises at which the list is likely to be seen

 

by such persons.

 

(3)    

The agent must publish a list of the fees on the agent’s website (if it has a

 

website).

 

(4)    

A list of fees displayed or published in accordance with subsection (2) or (3) must

 

include—

 

(a)    

a description of each fee that is sufficient to enable a person who is liable

 

to pay it to understand the service or cost that is covered by the fee or the

 

purpose for which it is imposed (as the case may be),

 

(b)    

in the case of a fee which tenants are liable to pay, an indication of

 

whether the fee relates to each dwelling-house or each tenant under a

 

tenancy of the dwelling-house, and

 

(c)    

the amount of each fee inclusive of any applicable tax or, where the

 

amount of a fee cannot reasonably be determined in advance, a

 

description of how that fee is calculated.

 

(5)    

The Secretary of State may by regulations specify—

 

(a)    

other ways in which a letting agent must publicise details of the relevant

 

fees charged by the agent;

 

(b)    

the details that must be given of fees publicised in that way.”

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

This new Clause requires letting agents to publish a list of their fees and provides for where and

 

how this must be done. The Secretary of State may also make regulations about what must be


 
 

Report Stage Proceedings: 16 June 2014                  

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

published and where

 


 

Secretary Vince Cable

 

Added  NC25

 

To move the following Clause—

 

“Letting agents to which the duty applies

 

(1)    

In sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the

 

duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting agency work and

 

property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary

 

provisions) “letting agent” means a person who engages in letting agency work

 

(whether or not that person engages in other work).

 

(2)    

A person is not a letting agent for the purposes of sections (Duty of letting agents

 

to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the duty applies), (Fees to which the

 

duty applies), (Letting agency work and property management work),

 

(Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary provisions) if the person engages

 

in letting agency work in the course of that person’s employment under a contract

 

of employment.

 

(3)    

A person is not a letting agent for the purposes of sections (Duty of letting agents

 

to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the duty applies), (Fees to which the

 

duty applies), (Letting agency work and property management work),

 

(Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary provisions) if—

 

(a)    

the person is of a description specified in regulations made by the

 

Secretary of State;

 

(b)    

the person engages in work of a description specified in regulations made

 

by the Secretary of State.”

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

This new Clause provides that the duty applies to a person who engages in letting agency work.

 

Employees are exempt from the duty. The Secretary of State may make regulations exempting

 

other persons or types of work

 


 

Secretary Vince Cable

 

Added  NC26

 

To move the following Clause—

 

“Fees to which the duty applies

 

(1)    

In sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the

 

duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting agency work and

 

property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary

 

provisions) “relevant fees”, in relation to a letting agent, means the fees, charges

 

or penalties (however expressed) payable to the agent by a landlord or tenant—

 

(a)    

in respect of letting agency work carried on by the agent,

 

(b)    

in respect of property management work carried on by the agent, or

 

(c)    

otherwise in connection with—

 

(i)    

an assured tenancy of a dwelling-house in England, or


 
 

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

(ii)    

a dwelling-house in England that is, has been or is proposed to

 

be let under an assured tenancy.

 

(2)    

Subsection (1) does not apply to—

 

(a)    

the rent payable to a landlord under a tenancy,

 

(b)    

any fees, charges or penalties which the letting agent receives from a

 

landlord under a tenancy on behalf of another person,

 

(c)    

a tenancy deposit within the meaning of section 212(8) of the Housing

 

Act 2004, or

 

(d)    

any fees, charges or penalties of a description specified in regulations

 

made by the Secretary of State.”

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

This new Clause provides that the duty applies to fees payable in respect of letting agency work,

 

property management work and other work done in connection with assured tenancies. The clause

 

provides that certain payments are not fees for the purposes of the duty. The Secretary of State may

 

make regulations to exempt other payments

 


 

Secretary Vince Cable

 

Added  NC27

 

To move the following Clause—

 

“Letting agency work and property management work

 

(1)    

In sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the

 

duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting agency work and

 

property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary

 

provisions) “letting agency work” means things done by a person in the course of

 

a business in response to instructions received from—

 

(a)    

a person (“a prospective landlord”) seeking to find another person

 

wishing to rent a dwelling-house in England under an assured tenancy

 

and, having found such a person, to grant such a tenancy, or

 

(b)    

a person (“a prospective tenant”) seeking to find a dwelling-house in

 

England to rent under an assured tenancy and, having found such a

 

dwelling-house, to obtain such a tenancy of it.

 

(2)    

But “letting agency work” does not include any of the following things when

 

done by a person who does nothing else within subsection (1)—

 

(a)    

publishing advertisements or disseminating information;

 

(b)    

providing a means by which a prospective landlord or a prospective

 

tenant can, in response to an advertisement or dissemination of

 

information, make direct contact with a prospective tenant or a

 

prospective landlord;

 

(c)    

providing a means by which a prospective landlord and a prospective

 

tenant can communicate directly with each other.

 

(3)    

“Letting agency work” also does not include things done by a local authority.

 

(4)    

In sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the

 

duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting agency work and

 

property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary

 

provisions) “property management work”, in relation to a letting agent, means

 

things done by the agent in the course of a business in response to instructions

 

received from another person where—


 
 

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

(a)    

that person wishes the agent to arrange services, repairs, maintenance,

 

improvements or insurance in respect of, or to deal with any other aspect

 

of the management of, premises in England on the person’s behalf, and

 

(b)    

the premises consist of a dwelling-house let under an assured tenancy.”

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

This new Clause defines letting agency work and property management work. It provides that

 

letting agency work does not include publishing advertisements, enabling landlords and tenants to

 

communicate directly with one another or things done by a local authority

 


 

Secretary Vince Cable

 

Added  NC28

 

To move the following Clause—

 

“Enforcement of the duty

 

(1)    

The Secretary of State may by regulations—

 

(a)    

impose functions on a local authority in connection with the enforcement

 

of the duty in section (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees);

 

(b)    

make provision for civil penalties to be imposed in respect of a breach of

 

that duty.

 

(2)    

Regulations under subsection (1)(b) may provide for the amount of a civil penalty

 

to be determined by the person imposing it, subject to subsection (3).

 

(3)    

The amount of a civil penalty that a person may impose by virtue of regulations

 

under subsection (1)(b) may not exceed £5,000 for each breach of the duty in

 

section (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees).

 

(4)    

The Secretary of State may by regulations amend the figure for the time being

 

specified in subsection (3).

 

(5)    

Regulations under subsection (1)(b) must make provision about the procedure for

 

imposing a civil penalty and, in particular, must require a person imposing a

 

penalty to give the person on whom it is imposed a written notice stating—

 

(a)    

the amount of the penalty,

 

(b)    

the reasons for imposing it, and

 

(c)    

the date by which and manner in which it is to be paid.

 

(6)    

Regulations under subsection (1)(b)—

 

(a)    

may give a person on whom a civil penalty is imposed a right to request

 

a review of the decision to impose the penalty, and

 

(b)    

must give such a person a right to appeal against the decision to the First-

 

tier Tribunal.

 

(7)    

Regulations under subsection (1)(b) must, in particular, specify the grounds on

 

which a person may appeal against a decision to impose a civil penalty, which

 

must include the grounds—

 

(a)    

that the decision was based on an error of fact,

 

(b)    

that the decision was wrong in law, and

 

(c)    

that the decision was unreasonable (including that the amount of the

 

penalty is unreasonable).

 

(8)    

Regulations under subsection (1)(b) may, in particular—

 

(a)    

specify the time within which a person must request a review of, or

 

appeal against, a decision to impose a civil penalty;

 

(b)    

require a person to request a review before appealing;


 
 

Report Stage Proceedings: 16 June 2014                  

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

(c)    

specify the grounds on which a person may request a review;

 

(d)    

make provision about the procedure for a review;

 

(e)    

make further provision about reviews and appeals (including provision as

 

to the powers available on a review or appeal).

 

(9)    

Regulations under subsection (1)(b) may make provision about the recovery of a

 

civil penalty, including—

 

(a)    

provision for the person by whom it is imposed to recover the penalty as

 

a civil debt;

 

(b)    

provision for the penalty to be recoverable, on the order of a court, as if

 

payable under a court order.

 

(10)    

Sums received by a local authority under regulations under this section may be

 

used by the authority for the purposes of any of its functions.

 

(11)    

A local authority on whom functions are conferred by regulations under this

 

section must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State about—

 

(a)    

compliance by letting agents with the duty in section (Duty of letting

 

agents to publicise fees);

 

(b)    

the exercise of those functions.”

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

This new Clause enables the Secretary of State to make regulations about enforcement of the duty.

 

The penalty for non-compliance will be a civil penalty of up to £5,000. The regulations must

 

provide for a right of appeal against the penalty to the First-tier Tribunal

 


 

Secretary Vince Cable

 

Added  NC29

 

To move the following Clause—

 

“Supplementary provisions

 

(1)    

In sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the

 

duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting agency work and

 

property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary

 

provisions)—

 

“assured tenancy” means a tenancy which is an assured tenancy for the

 

purposes of the Housing Act 1988 except where—

 

(a)    

the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing, or

 

(b)    

the tenancy is a long lease;

 

“dwelling-house” may be a house or part of a house;

 

“landlord” includes a person who proposes to be a landlord under a tenancy

 

and a person who has ceased to be a landlord under a tenancy because the

 

tenancy has come to an end;

 

“long lease” means a lease which—

 

(c)    

is a long lease for the purposes of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the

 

Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993,

 

or

 

(d)    

in the case of a shared ownership lease (within the meaning given

 

by section 7(7) of that Act), would be a lease within paragraph

 

(a) of this definition if the tenant’s total share (within the

 

meaning given by that section) were 100%;


 
 

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

“tenant” includes a person who proposes to be a tenant under a tenancy and

 

a person who has ceased to be a tenant under a tenancy because the

 

tenancy has come to an end.

 

(2)    

In sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the

 

duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting agency work and

 

property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary

 

provisions) “local authority” means—

 

(a)    

a county council in England,

 

(b)    

a district council,

 

(c)    

a London borough council,

 

(d)    

the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as local

 

authority, or

 

(e)    

the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

 

(3)    

References in sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents

 

to which the duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting agency work

 

and property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary

 

provisions) to a tenancy include a proposed tenancy and a tenancy that has come

 

to an end.

 

(4)    

References in sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents

 

to which the duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting agency work

 

and property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary

 

provisions) to anything which is payable, or which a person is liable to pay, to a

 

letting agent include anything that the letting agent claims a person is liable to

 

pay, regardless of whether the person is in fact liable to pay it.

 

(5)    

Regulations under sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting

 

agents to which the duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting

 

agency work and property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and

 

(Supplementary provisions) are to be made by statutory instrument.

 

(6)    

A statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provision)—

 

(a)    

the first regulations to be made under section (Enforcement of the

 

duty)(1)(b), or

 

(b)    

regulations under section (Enforcement of the duty)(4),

 

    

is not to be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and

 

approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

 

(7)    

A statutory instrument containing regulations under sections (Duty of letting

 

agents to publicise fees), (Letting agents to which the duty applies), (Fees to

 

which the duty applies), (Letting agency work and property management work),

 

(Enforcement of the duty) and (Supplementary provisions) other than one to

 

which subsection (6) applies is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution

 

of either House of Parliament.

 

(8)    

Regulations under sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting

 

agents to which the duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting

 

agency work and property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and

 

(Supplementary provisions)—

 

(a)    

may make different provision for different purposes;

 

(b)    

may make provision generally or in relation to specific cases.

 

(9)    

Regulations under sections (Duty of letting agents to publicise fees), (Letting

 

agents to which the duty applies), (Fees to which the duty applies), (Letting

 

agency work and property management work), (Enforcement of the duty) and

 

(Supplementary provisions) may include incidental, supplementary,

 

consequential, transitional, transitory or saving provision.”

 

Member’s explanatory statement

 

This new Clause provides definitions of the terms used in the new clauses and sets out the


 
 

Report Stage Proceedings: 16 June 2014                  

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

procedures for making regulations

 


 

Hilary Benn [R]

 

Emma Reynolds

 

Stella Creasy

 

Negatived on division  NC30

 

To move the following Clause—

 

“Letting Agents: Report

 

Within three months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Secretary of State shall

 

prepare and publish a report, and lay a copy of the report before Parliament, on—

 

(a)    

the consumer detriment caused to tenants by letting agent fees and the

 

impact this has on the ability of tenants to secure and maintain tenancies,

 

and

 

(b)    

the steps that the government intends to take to prohibit fees that cause

 

detriment to tenants.”

 


 

Hilary Benn

 

Emma Reynolds

 

Stella Creasy

 

Not called  20

 

Clause  84,  page  44,  line  1,  at end insert—

 

“(2A)    

Section [Prohibition of fees in contracts for services: letting of residential

 

accommodation] extends only to England.”

 


 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Negatived on division  1

 

Schedule  2,  page  51,  line  9,  at end insert—

 

“1A      

A term which requires a consumer to pay a charge for, or be liable for, an

 

element of a good or service that another party has also been charged for in the

 

course of the same transaction.”

 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Not called  2

 

Schedule  2,  page  51,  line  15,  at end insert—

 

“2A      

A term which relies upon any bill of sale, as defined in section 3 (Construction

 

of Act) of the Bills of Sale Act (1878) Amendment Act 1882, to reduce the

 

level of consumer protection in relation to contracts concerning consumer

 

credit.”


 
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