Lettings fees were a hot topic a national Conference hosted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) last month.
The event attracted Trading Standards Officers from across the country, with many delegates reporting that plans were underway to carry out more spot checks and impose fines for any firm that fails to display:
• Details of the fees they charge
• Whether or not they are a member of a client money protection scheme
• Details of the redress scheme they have joined and the new* 12 month timescale for referring disputes
Local Authorities have now received a new toolkit*, backed by TPO, to help more Trading Standards Officers impose fines against any agent in England and Wales that fails to meet these requirements, which were enforced last year as part of a raft of new consumer regulations.
We urge all members to review their branch windows, printed materials and websites, to ensure they comply.
We’ve published a checklist below to ensure you pass any visit from your local Trading Standards Office with flying colours…
• The new regulations state firms must display the name and contact details of their ADR provider. Please ensure your TPO membership is stated in your contract terms, along with a link to the scheme’s website (www.tpos.co.uk)
• Trading Standards Officers have been looking at company websites so please ensure TPO’s name and website address is featured on your website so consumers know where they can refer a complaint to
TPO’s Terms of Membership also state that members are required to:
• Prominently display the TPO logo in the window of every branch office
• Ensure TPO’s logo features on the agent’s marketing literature, advertisements, letterheads and any terms of business/service contracts
• Make copies of TPO’s latest Codes of Practice and the TPO Consumer Guide available in every office
Agent fines: recent press articles
• Agents fined after not signing up to redress scheme
• Letting agents facing action over failure to sign up to redress scheme
• Trading Standards check 202 agencies' redress memberships
• Council's new powers to fine agents flouting redress schemes