The Property Ombudsman met with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) this month to discuss a range of issues including the need for letting agents to display their fees.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 requires letting and managing agents in England and Wales to display a complete list of fees, charges or penalties (however expressed) payable by landlords and tenants for any letting agency or property management service, along with details of any client money protection scheme membership, at the earliest stage in the transaction.
TPO’s Code of Practice also states that ‘This information must be displayed on your website and prominently at all premises where you deal face-to-face with tenants and landlords.’
Trading Standards Officers across the country have powers to enforce fines upon firms that fail to meet the legal requirement. Any agent found to be in breach of the law risks a fine of up to &5,000.
Katrine Sporle, Property Ombudsman, said: “The law is quite clear in that agents must disclose their fees – including VAT - so consumers can make an informed decision about what letting agent to use. Failure to do so is illegal and we will continue to work closely with CTSI, industry bodies and local authorities to raise awareness.”
The Business Companion website has a useful guide for letting agents, which explains more about the requirement to display fees: www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/services/letting-agents-display-of-fees