As the deadline for agents to get licensed with Rentsmart Wales passes, Welsh agents will be aware it is not the only organisation trying to police them.
The Property Ombudsman late last month said Swansea was one of the Consumer Rights Act non-compliance hotspots after it discovered that agents in the city, along with those in Dorset, had the worst track record for displaying their fees both on their websites and in-branch, as the law now requires.
Letters were sent out in a joint campaign with The Chartered Trading Standards Institutes to agents late last month warning them that non-compliant agents would be reported to local Trading Standards officers.
But despite this, The Negotiator can reveal, five of the 18 letting agents with properties to let in the city still do not publish details of their fees on their websites.
Earlier this month The Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle (pictured) said up to 50% of agents in Swansea were not compliant and that they had until this Monday to remedy this. The letter has at least prompted some Swansea agents to get on board. Some 27% of them are non-compliant, an improvement on 50% and a sign that most agents across the UK are becoming aware of the new rules.
“As Ombudsman, my primary focus is that agents should be clear and transparent in their dealings with consumers,” says Katrine.
“Agents that display their letting fees demonstrate to consumers that they are operating to a high standard, complying with the law and TPO’s Code, and are open in their communication.
“As highlighted in TPO’s Annual Report, poor communication is one of the key root causes of consumer complaints. Displaying fees can only help reduce complaints and raise standards.”