An agency operating in London and Essex has launched an online petition to oppose the ban on credit and debit card surcharges as applied to letting agents.
As we reported yesterday the EU’s European Payment Services Directive bans card surcharges levied by companies on individuals; the Treasury confirmed again yesterday that for letting agents, this applies to surcharges when individual tenants pay rent, even though the collection of that rent is undertaken by an agency on behalf of a landlord.
As a result, Mark Deudney from the Spencer Munson agency has started a formal protest.
“I’ve started a petition about the unfairness of allowing banks to charge debit/credit card fees for companies such as letting agents who receive money on behalf of clients and now lose money doing it” he says.
“Ironically the argument used for banning tenants fees (tenants can’t choose which agent the property is with) is exactly the same (agents can’t control what payment method a tenant uses in paying their rent and deposit) yet banks who make billions can still charge the agent.”
Deudney says that it’s becoming “harder and harder to operate an honest agency” because of the pressures of the upcoming tenant fees’ ban, GDPR and other issues.
“It just seems so wrong that to accept rent and/or a deposit on a card, and this client money not a fee to us, could cost us £50 to £100 or more and yet we can't turn the business away” he says.
Under previous consumer legislation, companies - including letting agencies dealing with individual landlord and tenant clients - could levy a surcharge so long as it reflected their cost in processing the debit or credit card payment.
You can see the petition here.