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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

'Name and shame rip-off agents' demand Trading Standards and NALS

Trading Standards departments in London are asking renters to name and shame letting agents who are not complying with the law - and the campaign in the capital is just part of a national initiative. 

A statement from London’s borough councils’ Trading Standards teams says that in June this year, a website survey of letting agents in the capital revealed an extremely high level of non-compliance with the requirement to display fees and other information. 

A survey of 137 letting agent websites revealed that:

- 53 per cent were not displaying a Client Money Protection statement;

- 37 per cent were not displaying landlord fees;

- 31 per cent were not displaying tenant fees.

Trading Standards says that this shows, three years after providing this information became a legal requirement, some agents continue to flout the law. In one case, Trading Standards in Islington took action against a letting agent who used a rental licence, which attempts to take away tenants’ rights. 

Now London Trading Standards is advising those who experience or know of a letting agent acting unfairly to report them to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 - it will then be passed on to the relevant Trading Standards service. 

The TS initiative has also produced a post showing what renters should look for in an agent when renting a flat, and it has reproduced the official How To Rent guide, which it describes as “an invaluable resource to help stop tenants from being ripped-off.”

A series of statements in support of the Trading Standards initiatives includes one from Isobel Thomson, chief executive of the National Approved Letting Scheme, who says:  “Professional letting agents who work hard to ensure they adhere to the law have their name tarnished by the agents who fail to comply. Only by reporting these agents can we stamp out rogues, and improve the private rented sector for all. 

“We would also urge consumers to check their agent is a member of a professional regulatory organisation like NALS who will have a strict code of conduct to ensure the highest standards”. 

Meanwhile housing minister Heather Wheeler MP says: “Working with trading standards teams in London and across the country, we are stopping rogue landlords and agents in their tracks. The new measures in our Tenant Fees Bill will save renters around £240m a year by banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits.”

  • Michael Lee

    Heather Wheeler brainwashed by predecessors into thinking the tenant fee ban will save tenants money!!! Having legislation in place to provide transparency over fees is good but pointless unless you enforce it!! Not enough is being done nationally about this so get the basics right first before making wholesale changes that will inevitably cost tenants more in the long run with increased rents and also jeapordise jobs in the property sector when agents are having to cut costs due to the ban.

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    I think Heather Wheeler should have stated "with ill informed Government meddling the rental sector is going to have a huge shock next year. With many landlords selling due to being forced out with badly thought out Government policies rents are on their way up. As the number of rental properties are decreasing, due to basic economics rents will inevitably rise, that coupled with the tenant fees ban will force honest and decent letting agencies to increase costs to honest and decent landlords who in turn will have to increase costs to tenants in the form of rent increses."

  • jeremy clarke

    Have we got another new housing minister? Who is she?

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    What this actually shows is despite the laws being introduced who is checking, policing and implementing the laws?

    You can bring in loads of laws but unless they are policed they are ineffective

  • S l
    • S l
    • 05 October 2018 14:48 PM

    its not only about the policing issues. it wont work unless the basic foundation of proper policies are being made. why are they spending so much time on private rental sector on small time landlords and not the big fish corporation? They and hmrc with their penalties and cutting down the type of deductable expenses are forcing private landlord to back off and leaving a big wide void in housing. considering that majority of tenants rather spend money on themselves and having holidays and fun than to be frugal with money and save hard to climb onto the property market. tenants like renting because they dont have the responsibility of having to pay to fix the house or keep warm etc etc like homeowners do. They ran off from rent payment and utility bills and move on to next unsuspecting landlord. why else you think tenant keep moving around. the way to stop this is to have a name and shame list from landlords and letting agents on rogue tenants. there should be someone to champion this problem at the very least.

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