Andrew Smith MP is supporting a 10-Minute Rule Bill, which would to combat the overuse of 'To Let' signs.
Andrew said: "These signs are a real blight. Many residential areas of Oxford are really spoilt by a proliferation of 'To Let' signs, sometimes several all attached in the same place. They can make streets look really unkempt. Constituents have told me how much they get on their nerves. I don't believe many people actually use them for information about where to rent."
Nick Brown MP, who is proposing the bill, added: "Whatever the justification for these signs in the past, there isn't much of a case for them now. The majority of people do not use 'To Let' signs to find vacant flats. They use the internet, the lettings columns and, for students, the services provided by their Universities and Students Unions.
"It seems to me likely that the real reason estate agent signs proliferate, and stay up much longer than their stated purpose, is that they serve as a form of advertisement. In a competitive market, each agent feels the need to have signs to advertise their presence, because rival estate agents do it. My plan is to delete the law that lets them do this and instead let local authorities make by-laws to permit letting signs in zones if they want to. But the starting point would be that they are banned."
The 10-Minute Rule Bill has four clauses:
Clause 1 of the Bill disapplies Schedule Three of the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2007 by deleting the phrase 'or letting' from the Act. This means that whilst 'For Sale' signs would remain, lettings signs do not.
Clause 2 of the Bill enables local authorities to make by-laws, regulating for all or part of the local authority area, governing 'To Let' signs.
Clause 3 of the Bill makes it clear that where local authorities have not made rules for 'To Let' signs then the default is that they are banned.
Clause 4 is a penalties regime upon conviction of committing the offence, on the appropriate county court scale, and with rising penalties for repeat offenders.