A local council claims around 90 per cent of the 100 or so letting agents operating within its area are breaking the law over the display of fees.
Reading council in Berkshire says its trading standard team’s visits to agents suggest many are not complying fully with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 legislation, either through not publicising their fees in the correct manner or indeed at all.
"The council is keen to work with landlords to ensure they offer good quality and safe accommodation. Letting agents and property managers are also integral players in this sector and it's equally important they behave in a responsible and diligent manner” says a council spokesman.
"Letting agents' fees are often an area of complaint, especially when they are unexpected. Officers will not hesitate to enforce the Consumer Rights Act to ensure all fees care clearly displayed" he insists.
The Consumer Rights Act says fees must be displayed in letting agents' premises and also on their websites.
The list of fees must include an adequate description of each fee and its purpose, whether the fee is payable for the accommodation or by each tenant, the total amount of the fee inclusive of all taxes, and the method of calculating the fee.
Reading council says its officers will also be checking that all lettings agents and property managers are displaying a statement regarding whether the business is a member of a client money protection scheme, a statement that they are a member of a redress scheme and the name of that scheme.
In recent days we have reported criticism by The Guardian that it is often difficult to find agents’ fees displayed on their websites, and a call by respected industry expert David Lawrenson that fees should also be displayed by law on major property portals as this is where most would-be tenants begin their search for accommodation.