Council officers from Brent and Harrow Trading Standards have pledged to clampdown on unscrupulous letting agents in the London boroughs of Brent and Harrow by investigating companies that fail to protect landlords and tenants' interests by ignoring rules around the fees they intend to charge.
Officers from Brent and Harrow Trading Standards have so far checked 67 letting agent websites in both boroughs and found only 14 to be compliant with the law.
Brent and Harrow Trading Standards are also cracking down on letting agents that are not registered with approved money protection schemes or registered in a 'redress scheme', which enables renters to escalate complaints.
The Trading Standards team has sent 293 advisory letters to letting agents across both boroughs warning agents of the actions they need to take.
Officers have carried out inspections in 49 letting offices in Brent and Harrow. Nine businesses have been issued with financial penalty notices, and six have received formal written warnings. Others are still under investigation.
Simon Legg, head of Brent and Harrow Trading Standards, said: "Often agents try to blame their web programmers for errors, but it's the agents' responsibility to check that their websites content is correct. We advise businesses to be proactive in this respect and schedule regular spot checks to ensure everything is being displayed as they expect.”
Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which came into force on 1 June 2019, agents are banned from charging all but a small handful of fees.
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: "It's important for landlords and renters to understand their rights, to avoid being ripped off by unscrupulous letting agents.
“It's renters' legal right to have their money protected in a certified scheme and to be able to escalate complaints if needed. We will go after letting agents that break the rules, just as we go after rogue landlords who exploit vulnerable tenants."
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