Letting agents who fail to display fees ‘should be fined not £5,000 but £30,000’

The Government should make better use of current legislation on letting agents rather than banning tenant fees, landlords have claimed.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has called on the Government to increase the level of fines on agents for failing to display fees from the current maximum of £5,000 to £30,000.

The membership body claims a lack of enforcement on rules about displaying fees and disclosure of redress and client money protection has left rogue operators free to continue.

A briefing note ahead of a parliamentary debate on the tenant fees ban next week said: “The Government has so far not made use of any of the powers conferred on it in the Consumer Rights Act to make regulations.

“We believe that doing so would allow for immediate improvements for tenants and landlords without the need for further primary legislation.

“For example, under section 83 of the Act the Government could introduce regulations to allow for fees to be displayed more prominently and to specify in greater detail the descriptions of fees that are to be given to tenants.”

The document also calls for enforcement of the transparency regulations to be moved from Trading Standards to Environmental Health officers who “are better equipped to enforce the policy given that they have a better understanding of the private rented sector”.

It said: “The level of fine for those agents found guilty of breaking the transparency laws should increase to act as a greater deterrent.

“We would suggest this be increased to £30,000 in line with the fines that can be issued to landlords under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.”

The RLA is also proposing that any cap on security deposits should be at two months’ rent, rather than the one month proposed in the draft Tenants’ Fee Bill.

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6 Comments

  1. Will

    The Government should concentrate its efforts on more important things like Brexit and the  appalling exchange rates, plummeting pound, terrorism, cyber crime and scammers in general etc. At present all it seems to achieve is putting different parts of society against one another particularly in the property world!

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  2. RosBeck73

    What an awful way for the RLA to be spending its time – pushing for more punitive sanctions against the sector. How will small letting agents survive? I believe moves like this could backfire – instead of persuading the Government to backtrack on banning letting agent fees it could just mean that they attack letting agents even more. Surely an organisation representing landlords should also place itself near to the interests of letting agents. The latter are hated enough by Government already – they don’t need even more anti-letting agent allies.

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  3. Headache

    They might as well increase the fines to £3 million.Trading standards are not fit for purpose but it’s a bit rich from the RLA when it’s their members who use smoke and mirrors to hide or do not disclose fees at all.

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  4. smile please

    £5,000 or £30,000 – Pah what type of deterrent is that!

     

    I think it should be punishable by death, equally as measured response.

     

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  5. lettingsguru

    There are far bigger issues in the PRS and agents non-compliance with current regs. than not displaying fees correctly. Why doesn’t the RLA use their PR budget to better effect!

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  6. DavidRogar50

    Transparency regulations are very important to enforce. Especially when it comes to letting agents this is a must. One should only opt for reliable letting agents from a trusted place like https://letbritain.co.uk to get fair rates. Display fees rule should do some good for tenants.

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