Clock ticks down towards duty to publish letting fees

The clock is ticking as letting agents are reminded that they now have less than a week to ensure that they fully publicise the fees they charge to both landlords and tenants.

This becomes a statutory duty on Wednesday, May 27, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Agents must display a list of their fees at each of their offices, and the list must be in a prominent place.

There should also be a list of fees on the agent’s own website.

The list must include a description of each fee, whether it relates to each property or to each tenant, and what it covers. The list must cover all fees and charges payable to the agent. While you do not have to show rent and deposits, agents must show holding deposits.

All fees must be shown inclusive of VAT.

Where the fees cannot be determined in advance, there must be a description of how they are calculated.

If the agent holds money on behalf of clients, the list must also state if the agent is a member of a Client Money Protection scheme. It must also confirm that the agent is a member of a redress scheme, with the name of the scheme.

As well as displaying the fees payable by a tenant, the list must show those fees payable by landlords.

Trading Standards will police the new requirement and can fine agents up to £5,000.

Trading Standards would first issue a ‘notice of intent’ setting out the proposed penalty and the reasons for imposing it. The agent has 28 days to respond. If Trading Standards then decides to impose the penalty, it will issue a final notice requiring payment within 28 days. The agent does have a right of appeal through the First Tier Tribunal.

David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said: “We are reminding all our members to comply fully with the new measures. Relevant information should be placed prominently in offices where letting agents have face to face contact with clients, as well as on their websites.

“Any costs to landlords and tenants must be clearly defined and comprehensively outlined, including all fees, charges and penalties that may be charged before, during and after a tenancy.

“We urge all our members to make the necessary changes now before next week’s deadline, to ensure that they do not fall foul of this new legislation.”

There is very good advice here

ARLA also has templates for its own members here

 

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8 Comments

  1. Trevor Mealham

    There are thousands of private landlords and budget agents who will charge various fees and not even know about this reg change. The worry isnt those who register for redress schemes. But those off radar.

    So many property gurus do what agents do and flank rules and regs everyday. Which is not fair on those who trade lawfully.

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    1. mlettings

      I cannot agree with you more regarding private LL and ‘budget agents’.  Like many professional letting agency’s our fees are fair, we are members of NLA/UKALA/NALS/Property Ombudsman have client money protection and have a redress scheme.  This legislation does not (as you say) tackle those that will not conform and will remain out of sight operating in the shadows while the rest of the professional industry is under the spotlight.

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  2. ringi

    When landlords see the double charging of both themselves and the tenant for the same service,  expect questions to be asked in the landlords minds……….

    We changed from using a letting agent that charges above averaged fees to one that charge a little below averaged fees AND got a lot better service.    We decided to make the change about 12 months before we changed, as we waited until the tenanat left.

    Therefore just becouse an agent does not loose custom on the first day of makingg there charges clear, it does not mean that high charges will not loose them custom.

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    1. Toddy

      Charging fees to both LL and tenant is not double charging. It is not the same service provided to both. Clarity regarding fees can only be a good thing. Plenty of agents grab both LL’s and tenants in with low headline fees then suddenly announce the ‘extras’ which can often come as a surprise to both parties. This move will surely benefit the honest agents!

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  3. silverfox

    Another piece of legislation to make it harder to run your own business.  What ever happened to competition? do travel agents or insurance brokers need to disclose how much money they make? absolute load of tosh.  

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  4. sspm

    As a letting agent i do not mind to display our fees as it could save time to make people understand them better.

    However i think banks should do the same with mortgages, i find it unfair the banks will offer different rate to different people.

    Should be different rent or charges charged to different clients?

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  5. Peter

    It’s a pain and waste of time; another time consuming process that takes me away from looking after customers. I can see a lot of agents around us not complying, the same that do not comply with the ASA code of fees; and they are getting away with it! The annoying thing is, those that comply are disadvantaged by those that do not comply. It feels like legislation only hurts those that want and do the right thing!

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  6. ammik

    I am the only agent to be complying with this in my own and neighbouring villages. Not even Leaders and Martin & Co can be bothered.  And I am sat here asking myself ‘what’s the ****** point?’. I can see the writing on the wall for me and this industry. I want to be a good agent. I am a good agent. And I care for those I serve. But I’m deeply let down by those that cant give a stuff and what pains me is they win business from the uneducated public.

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