Don’t even try getting round the ban – and snitch on those who do, urges ARLA boss

Agents should not even try to find ways around the tenancy fees ban when it comes into force on June 1 – less than a month away.

ARLA boss David Cox warned agents in a webinar yesterday: “If you’re trying to find ways around the ban, I can assure you that there are no loopholes.

“It is not worth trying to breach the ban.

“There will be a fine of £5,000 for the first offence and then either £30,000 for second and subsequent offences or criminal prosecution, which is an unlimited fine and a banning order.”

Cox advised agents  to “work on the principle that all charges are banned, unless they are specifically permitted payments under the legislation”.

Permitted payments are set out in the legislation and in government guidance.

He also encouraged agents who were aware of other agencies continuing to charge tenant fees after June 1 to alert their local authorities or contact ARLA. “If you don’t want to do it, we’ll do it on your behalf,” said Cox.

“We all know there will be businesses who will continue charging fees after the ban. It’s not fair on good agents if bad agents are still charging fees.

“We’re hoping we will get more prosecutions, and a more level playing field for professional agencies.”

Cox said agencies looking to recoup lost revenue should identify new ways to generate income, as well as looking at how they could cut costs.

He said: “You’re going to have to find other ways of generating income. You might want to consider charging the landlord for specific things, for example, referencing fees.”

He also said one benefit of the Tenant Fees Act for the lettings industry was “the explosion of PropTech”, which would help agencies looking to reduce their costs.

Lettings platform Goodlord hosted yesterday’s webinar, attended by 1,000 agents.

A full recording can be found here:

https://blog.goodlord.co/webinar-tenant-fee-ban-one-month-to-go

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15 Comments

  1. ArthurHouse02

    With all respect Mr Cox, agents have tried for the last couple of years reporting other agents who dont display their fees, dont have EPCs etc and trading standards have done nothing about it. Maybe it will be different this time, but somehow once the initial enthusiasm from the lettings rozzers……i doubt it

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    1. LeighN

      Quite right, this is an easy money generator for cash strapped Trading Standards.

      There is no excuse for not displaying fees its been the Law since 2015.

      So find out who’s not doing it, no soft “don’t do it again” warnings just fine them, isn’t this simple?

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      1. s71

        there will be no need of displaying any fees after June as there will be NO FESS!!!!!!

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  2. seenitall

    “Cox said agencies looking to recoup lost revenue should identify new ways to generate income, as well as looking at how they could cut costs.   He said: “You’re going to have to find other ways of generating income. You might want to consider charging the landlord for specific things, for example, referencing fees.”   He also said one benefit of the Tenant Fees Act for the lettings industry was “the explosion of PropTech”, which would help agencies looking to reduce their costs.”  
     
    Really?  -Gee thanks for those sucked eggs Mr Cox.               ARLA  sounds more Quisling each day.  
    Lets see all of the extra work and liability and risk that agents have to do and have been introduced/forced on us over the last fee years.    Nice of the level of fines to be so in proportion to real life.   so 3 offences ie not retuning on time the 1 week deposit on a renewal of a tenancy which held 6 weeks deposit and now is limited to 5 weeks would be more than has just be awarded in a civil rape money judgemenet?    (£80k)   Sound fair.  
    or how about a loss of an eye?  Criminal compensation is £27000  where as agents for a second offence is £30000  and a criminal prosecution.   So If I poke out Mr Cox eye  it will cost me less then 2 fee errors?

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  3. Sam West

    Yes, let’s just all concentrate on other agents and their practices… See if we can catch them out rather than looking at our business and seeing what we can do to keep profitable. Good idea Mr Cox… Good idea.

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  4. GeorgeHammond78

    Agree with all my learned colleagues above, so permit me to go off on a tangent……. ARLA are supposed to be a not for profit organisation, solely there for the benefit of all of their members, right? So why do they and others (i.e. the TPO) continually promote/get into bed with Goodlord which only exists to make profit. And, that profit solely comes from the mouths of agents – seems somewhat incongruous to me.

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    1. FUDGE53

      That ship sailed along time ago when you see the Propertymark approved suppliers list and the amount they pay every year for the privilege.

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  5. SLF

    At last letting agents are being forced to charge the client (landlord) like most other businesses. Roll on June 1st.

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    1. Mark Walker 2

      A tenant has contacted us and asked us to supply a copy of a notice which she has binned and now needs for an application.  Is it your intimation that the Landlord should pay for this?

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      1. SLF

        Pay for this???!!!!

        Why would anyone have to pay for a copy of something you can run off in 2 seconds. It’s called good customer service.

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        1. HIT MAN

          So what your saying is Agents should work for nothing, and supply everything for free???!!!!

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        2. qweasdzxc

          But the landlord is the customer, not the tenant.

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  6. Industry insider

    ARLA’s primary role is to support its membership.

    A role they’ve been failing to do for over 5 years !!

    Statements like this from David Cox show how massively out of touch he is from the real world of running residential lettings and property management firms.

    ARLA should have put up a robust, successful lobbying campaign against the fees ban instead of being badly beaten by Shelter and the like. The reality is ARLA is seen as lightweight by most of Government and many in our industry. Time for a total restructure of ARLA and its direction, the current regime of failure is unacceptable.

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    1. FUDGE53

      Yes, but they become experts after the event and run lots of training courses and webinars.  What more do you want?

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  7. Paul

    Arla, NAEA, property Mark or whatever they want to call themselves this week are simply being government sycophants so that they can apply to be the ‘industry regulator’ of the future and turn to be a money making machine.

    They don’t represent their members and stuff like this is directly adverse to the interests of their membership and shows their complete failure in lobbying for proper regulation that would have helped the industry

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