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Will landlords be caught in a Trading Standards clampdown?

The trading standards team charged with policing lettings and estate agents is to investigate whether a new guideline on referral fees should apply to individual private landlords as well.

For the past two years the agency industry has been debating the merits and de-merits of referral fees; for some agents, they make up significant proportions of income, but they are relatively infrequently disclosed to tenants, landlords, buyers or sellers.

Last month the government welcomed a report by the National Trading Standards for Estate and Letting Agents Team, which recommended mandatory disclosure of such fees to ensure consumers felt confident in the services they received. It is expected that in 12 months time the government will decide whether to ban such referral fees outright, or make it obligatory by law for agents to disclose them.


At a Propertymark webinar yesterday James Munro - head of the NTSELAT - was asked whether such fees were ever enjoyed by individual landlords and, if so, whether they too would be subject to any eventual ruling.

Munro said he was so far unsure about the status of landlords, although he was aware some larger scale and professional landlords had favoured suppliers which were recommended to tenants - this often applies with utilities, for example.

“I’ll go away and have a look at this” Munro told webinar attendees. He then added: “Case law suggests that landlords - when acting in the role of landlords - were acting in the interest of their business. Therefore they may have to abide by CPRs [the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations].”



In addition to proposals for government to make transparency of referral fees mandatory, last month’s NTSELAT report also called for a public awareness campaign and possible messaging to consumers that they should shop around rather than accept agents’ recommendations for other services.

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    No different to the developers telling their buyers which solicitor to use for the purchase of their properties, I believe this to be common practice, and sometimes insisted on.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Legislation in PRS is going from the sublime to the ridiculous !


    Over the last few years from ridiculous to ridiculous. All part of the drive to push out the little man and let the likes of Legal and General in.

    Ingrid Mott

    PRS is soon to be a thing of the past. We will have to take the local Council problems. Then comply as social landlords, where tenants will be appraising us and reporting to Councils regularly. That plan is out the bag and soon coming into force.

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    • 19 November 2020 09:17 AM

    Was never sublime, but for sure it is now ridiculous!!!!
    And will become more ridiculous - be sure on that!!!!!

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    Transparency and fairness should be a given in all walks of life. Landlords should consider it part off their duty of care to encourage tenants get best value. I would not dream of telling my tenants which utilities or other services to make use of except to save them money. Win win there I would say as they are then more able to pay the rent. It's more frustrating to see a tenant struggling to make ends meet and not accepting or making use of the help available to make the most of their money.


    In my experience most tenants just languish on the high standard tariffs and clearly don't need the savings which the more astute consumers can get by shopping around.

    On the other hand, if everyone was chasing the best deals then such deals wouldn't be as good for those of us who take the trouble to find them.

    I just love being subsidised by the stupid and feckless!

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    • 19 November 2020 10:01 AM

    Yes...It should be given in all walks of life.

    How come then, that thieving rent defaulters are allowed to remain in my property for what might be up to 2 years and even then they will trash the house they have had for free!!!!!

    And then they are not even asked to pay back the rent they stole nor pay for damage they do to the house....!!!!

    Now tell me - Is that fair?


    Totally agree with this. When the state supports those who go against a legal agreement they signed. So called justice and fair play. Really?? The Tory’s can get stuffed next election I hate myself every day for voting for them.

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    • 19 November 2020 10:25 AM

    They need to re-examine the whole process to ensure fairness for one and all.


    Seems we are only entitled to a different kind of fairness but I take your point.


    The only thing fair about the Tories is Boris's hair - and even that seems to be getting thinner.

  • Ingrid Mott

    Yes no party will support landlord rights because we landlords are here to be milked by HMRC, the Councils and the tenants. We get rent for nothing, have nothing to do and lord it over poor struggling workers. Tenants votes are the priority. Once only the mega landlords remain, the balance of power will swiftly shift.


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