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Guardian takes pop at letting agents over how they display fees on websites

The Guardian newspaper has taken a perhaps-predictable swipe at letting agents and property portals for the way in which they display fees online.

Patrick Collinson, the paper’s long-standing money editor, says he visited a range of agents’ websites to judge how well they were conforming with legislation obliging them to be more transparent in the display of fees online.

He does not say how many he visited but cites the Faron Sutaria brand in London, owned by Countrywide. “The home page gave no indication of fees. Down at the bottom of the right of the lettings page was a click-through link to ‘lettings/our fees’. One more click and finally I was taken to a small-print PDF of fees” he writes.

Then he looked at Andrews. “Nothing about fees on the opening page. Nothing, even when I clicked on ‘terms and conditions’” he claims, although he admits that the fees did appear when he looked at a specific property and “view tenant fees” appeared on the full details of the home.

Collinson then turns to portals, although he concedes that they are actually outside the recent legislation obliging agents’ websites to display fees. “Zoopla is little better with fees to tenants far from obvious” he says.

It is unclear whether he visited more than two agencies and one portal when doing research for the article, but he suggested that there may be need for “enforcement action and fines from the promised [fee display] clampdown.” 

  • Kristjan Byfield

    I long for the day journalists realise that praising/promoting the agents that do best practose rather than listing those that perform poorly. What's the saying 'no press is bad press'? So stop giving column inches to the cuplrits and start promoting the best. Ultimately the bottom line motivates most decisions of this nature- effect their bottom line and they will soon fall in line.

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