Trading Standards says representatives from 15 departments will today visit lettings and property management firms across London in a bid to identify rogue operators.
As part of London Trading Standards Week, the representatives will be checking that agents display their fees and other relevant information online and in branches; those that fail to do so may face a fine of up to £5,000 per offence.
As a result of recent visits to agents as well as breaches identified on agents’ websites, Trading Standards departments in London have issued fines amounting to around £370,000 in the last three months alone.
Today’s campaign is backed by the National Approved Letting Scheme.
“Trading Standards play a vital enforcement role in the lettings landscape, ensuring agents trade fairly and consumers are protected. We are delighted that London has taken a lead in increasing their activity and raising awareness so that rogue agents should not simply slip under the radar” says Isobel Thomson, NALS chief executive.
“We won’t allow letting agents flouting the law to get away with it. It’s simply not fair to the consumer or the substantial part of the letting industry who go out of their way to do things right. If you want to be a letting agent the message is clear; you must comply with the law” says Martin Harland, chair of London Trading Standards’ letting agents working group.
The initiative is also launching a telephone helpline for anyone to report an agent breaching the rules - 03454 040506.