Display fees clearly or face action, letting agents warned
Letting agents must be transparent about fees they charge to potential tenants and landlords, Hackney Council has warned, after 1 in 5 businesses in the borough were found to be breaching new rules to protect renters.
The Council has written to all letting agents and property management firms about regulations introduced last year which mean companies must display a list of fees in their premises and on their website.
The move comes after 21% of businesses visited by trading standards officers failed to display fees either in-store or online – with further visits planned to ensure traders make changes swiftly.
New legislation which came into force in May 2015 stipulated that the list of fees must clearly describe each charge’s purpose, total cost and how it has been calculated in a bid to help renters and landlords shop around.
Making fees and charges more transparent for tenants – including mandatory rules for landlords to publish costs like utility bills – is one of ten measures the Council is calling for Government ministers to implement to improve the private rented sector.
Too often, renters and landlords across London are hit with huge fees and charges with little explanation of what they are for or how they are calculated.
These new rules are designed to make it easier for people to understand what they are paying for, and it’s unacceptable that one in five letting agents in our borough are flouting these reasonable requirements.
We’re determined to protect tenants and responsible landlords from those who seek to take advantage of the capital’s housing crisis, and lettings agents who fail to make changes will face the full force of our enforcement powers.
The Council provides guidance for renters on how to deal with letting agents when considering renting a property – including a simple checklist to make sure the business is meeting legal requirements. Visit the advice page for more information.
If you think a letting agent or property management company is breaking the law, report them to the Council’s trading standards team by calling 020 8356 4929 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidance for letting agents on how to comply with the rules is available on the Business Companion website (external link).