A senior industry figure has warned agents who use a recently-launched service which charges £30 for property viewings that they could be in breach of the Tenant Fees Act and face prosecution.
Sean Hooker (main pic), Head of Redress at the PRS, says he understands that customers not turning up to an arranged viewing is a ‘perennial problem’ but that in the rental market, charging tenants to view a property would be problematical.
“Agents…could fall foul of the Tenant Fees Act which prohibits andy charges made as part of the letting process,” he says.
“While an agent is able to take a holding deposit, this is restricted to one week, cannot be non-refundable and is not usually taken until a viewing has occurred and the tenant understands all the terms and conditions. “Even for the buying and selling market, an agent has to be careful to explain the full terms and conditions.
“This service may sound good in theory, but like taking reservation fees when an offer is taken, it could be fraught with danger if safeguards are not put in place to comply with the law.”
Hooker is referring to View Rabbit, which launched over the weekend and enables agents to offer sales and lettings viewers the opportunity to see properties early for £30.
Launched by a former Savills estate agent, it also claims to help agents weed out tyre kickers and help minimise the annoying and time-wasting ‘no shows’ that many agents endure daily.