Letting agents are now required to publish full details of the fees they charge. In addition, agents are also obliged to state whether or not they are a member of a client protection scheme and which redress scheme they are signed up to.
The new legislation contained within the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force last week and is designed to ensure a fair deal for landlords and tenants, closing off the opportunity for a small minority of rogue agents to impose unreasonable, hidden charges.
All letting agents are now required to publish a full tariff of their fees – both on their websites and prominently in their offices. Anyone who does not comply with these new rules will face a major fine.
David Cox (left), Managing Director, Association of Residential Letting Agents, said, “Relevant information should be placed prominently in offices where letting agents have face to face contact with clients, as well as on their websites. Any costs to landlords and tenants must be clearly defined and comprehensively outlined, including all fees, charges and penalties that may be charged before, during and after a tenancy.”
Meanwhile, more than 3,000 professional lettings agent across the UK have joined forces this week to drive awareness among landlords and tenants of the importance of selecting a lettings and management agent who is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.
Agents, consumer bodies (Citizens Advice Bureau, The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services: Property, My Deposits, TDS and DPS) and the wider property community have all come together to support this campaign. In addition, the Government has also given its support to SAFEagent Awareness Week since its launch in 2011.
John Midgley, Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, commented, “There are still too many people who are not aware of the potential pitfalls of choosing an agent who doesn’t have CMP. It is important that tenants and landlords understand that the right to redress only goes so far, and they need to choose wisely by asking a few simple questions. It can make all the difference.”
As a founding member of SAFEagent, Hunters, one of thousands of agents proud to be supporting SAFEagent Awareness Week, are delighted to see the industry coming together as a united community to support this initiative.
“It is imperative that we as agents protect both tenants and landlords and for this reason we always advise clients to ask agents they are dealing with whether they are part of a CMP scheme,” said Glynis Frew (right), Managing Director of Hunters. “By helping to raise awareness of the SAFEagent campaign this week we hope to encourage landlords and tenants to make a safe, informed choice when choosing future agents.”