A London Trading Standard’s report suggests that half of the agencies it contacted in a 15-month survey may have broken laws, particularly applying to the display and charging of fees, redress scheme membership, and website content.
Figures show that more than 46 per cent of 1,922 agents inspected in the 15 months up to June 2019 by local council trading standards officers were non-compliant with either the Consumer Rights Act and/or the legislation on redress scheme membership. Agents in the capital have been fined, collectively, £1.2 million for non-compliance with regulations.
Along with the fines, London boroughs instigated 14 criminal prosecutions for a range of offences including breaches of unfair trading rules.
“We’re really pleased to see Trading Standards prosecuting bad practice in the industry; it’s the only way to clean up the sector and we’ve been calling for it for a long time” explains David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive.
“This raises the question what other laws will that agent break? At that stage, a tenant should walk straight out and choose an ARLA member where agents follow a strict code of conduct which puts the tenant first. It’s also why we have been calling on the Government to regulate letting agents and are pleased that plans are well underway for mandatory registration and training for all letting agents,” he added.
Stephen Knight, operations director at London Trading Standards said:
“London borough trading standards teams have been increasingly active in tackling rogue letting agents in recent years, with over £1.2 million of fines issued in the past 15 months and 14 criminal prosecutions, but dodgy agents are far too commonplace across London and private renters need to be very careful not to be ripped off.”
Tenant Shop are an ARLA Propertymark Industry Supplier, which means that ARLA members receive preferential terms with us. So please give us a call on 0203 8239 353 to speak to our Account Management Team.
Letting Agent Today. (2019). ARLA tells tenants to “walk straight out” if agent suspected of illegality. Accessible: https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2019/9/arla-tells-tenants-to-walk-straight-out-if-agent-suspected-of-illegality?source=newsticker. Last Accessed: 16 September 2019.