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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Pressure group claims 21 agents breaking law over display of fees

A tenants' campaign group says it has identified 21 letting agents out of 56 in one London borough which do not publish information about their fees online – in breach of new legislation.

The survey – completed last month by Waltham Forest Renters – claims that new tenants in the borough can expect to pay an average of £484 in letting agents’ fees.

In addition to the claim about agents failing to list their fees online, the group says the range of fees for new tenants varies markedly from £150 to around £792.

Landlord Today’s sister site Letting Agent Today has tried to establish whether the group has updated its findings, without success. The local council in Waltham Forest says it does not know whether the findings of the group have been passed on to trading standards.

However, the claim regarding the 21 agents ‘failing to display’ has now been taken up by consumer body Which? and appears on its website in a blog written by the Which? consumer rights producer Adam French –  who lives in Waltham Forest.

Since May 27 all information about fees, client money protection and which redress scheme an agent has joined should be prominently displayed in every office and on the website, under rules set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

All fees, charges or penalties which are payable to an agent by a landlord or tenant in relation to an Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be displayed. However, agents will not be required to publicise the rent payable to a landlord; a tenancy deposit; and any fees, charges or penalties which a letting agent receives from a landlord under a tenancy from another person.

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    I have carried out a survey of local agents in my area and unsurprisingly not all have displayed their fees,
    only a small percent have them listed on the website and even then it doesnt list inc VAT
    When i called the agent very few were willing to inform me of the fees over the phone without taking all my details first and setting up a viewing
    When i asked agents about the new legislation i was shocked that most didnt even know about it.

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    Well that is interesting, Julie. I was under the impression that May's deadline was just an official thing and that most agents were already adhering to what they needed to do. I will be keeping a closer eye in the future, then.

  • Kenny Sahota

    @Julie Ford your comments are really very interesting as there has been much talk about the enforcement of this legislation in the last few months so letting agents definitely can't play dumb.

    I'd be interested to know what area you carried this survey out in?

  • Emma  Mitchell

    Firstly, its ludicrous that certain agents are refusing to adhere to the rules. Secondly, what an extraordinarily wide range there is between the tenant fees! It certainly makes you think that if one agent can charge £150, why on earth are some charging more than five times that amount?

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    @Kenny Sahota My area is a Town in Hertfordshire

    @Emma Mitchell totally agree... i found that the agents that do advertise show fees from as little as £75 for referencing all the way up to £500 in one National agents case.
    Then of course there are all the added oddments... 'Tenant fee' 'Admin fee' surely these are one in the same? fee to protect the deposit...
    in a couple of cases... but well hidden on the website one agent was charging the landlord & the tenant for the same things... double dipping cant be standard practice surely?

    I am aware an agency is a business and therefore must make a profit... but blimey

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