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Bangpuss
05-01-2012, 07:17 PM
I was explaining to someone on Facebook, half-jokingly, that I would contact my MP (Tessa Jowell) and ask her to address the housing minister regarding letting agents' fees. For the record, they hack me off tremendously, and I'd like them to be made illegal. As a technically homeless person myself, I know it's a pretty big obstacle for people looking for somewhere to live, who often can't afford an extra 150 on top of their deposit.

Before I march down to Tessa's office with even a whiff of optimism, can you fill me in on your experiences with your MP? Have you ever petitioned an elected representative? Was it in any way successful?

I find the idea of a politician solving a problem merely on the back of a suggestion from a constituent fascinating and romantic. I mean, skepticism aside, it really could happen, couldn't it?! Imagine: I tell Tessa Jowell how shitty and unfair letting agents' fees are. She writes a letter to Grant Schapps, the housing minister. Grant Schapps outlaws letting agents charging for credit checks and all the other admin shit nobody else would dare to charge you for.

Or maybe I'm deluded. So fill me in...

Mr. Tea
05-01-2012, 08:15 PM
Never written to an MP but if you get anywhere with letting agents' fees, do let us know - the ones who (mis)manage my girlfriend's house are a total fucking shower. Bloodletting agents, more like.

I've recently moved to the Netherlands and while rental prices here are a bit less than they are in London, I was a bit shocked to discover that it's standard practice to charge a one-off "finder's fee" equal to a whole month's rent plus 19% VAT, which if you're looking at renting a place for a year equates to a total outlay 10% greater than what you might naively expect by multiplying a month's rent by 12. It's daylight buggery but all the agencies have this policy so what you gonna do?

john eden
05-01-2012, 09:37 PM
I've never done it and am quite cynical about it.

But it's only half an hour and the cost of a stamp/email. So why not?

crackerjack
07-01-2012, 10:24 AM
I haven't but my parents have twice that I know of, both times medically related, both times successfully.