A set of ‘fees templates’ have been created for letting agents to download ahead of the legal requirement to display details of all charges on websites and in offices from May 27.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents has created the templates in response to The Consumer Rights Act which makes the requirement legal from next Wednesday.
Official guidance, which has been drawn up by the Department of Communities and Local Government with input from the Advertising Standards Authority, says what must be displayed are as follows:
“All fees, charges or penalties (however expressed) which are payable to the agent by a landlord or tenant in respect of letting agency work and property management work carried out by the agent in connection with an assured tenancy. This includes fees, charges or penalties in connection with an assured tenancy of a property or a property that is, has been or is proposed to be let under an assured tenancy.”
However, an agent does not need to publicise the rent payable to a landlord, the tenancy deposit which is taken as security against damage or violation of the tenancy agreement, and any fees, charges or penalties which the letting agent receives from a landlord under a tenancy on behalf of another person.
For example should a letting agent recommend a gardener for a property and arrange to pass the fee from the landlord to the gardener without taking a cut or adding a fee for this service there would be no requirement to publicise the fee charged by the gardener.
The fees which should be displayed must be on show at the agent’s office in such as way as it will be seen by customers. “Ideally someone walking into an agent’s office should be able to see the list without having to ask for it and if someone does ask it should be clearly on view and not hidden for example in a drawer” says the guidelines.
The advice also emphasises that “the list of fees must be comprehensive and clearly defined; there is no scope for surcharges or hidden fees. Ill defined terms such as administration cost must not be used. All costs must include tax.”
ARLA says its templates have come about after a meeting with DCLG to clarify queries raised by the wording of the act.
The templates are available here: