People living in areas such as Gloucester often look at the London lettings market with horror and are not surprised to hear of rogue behaviour in the capital. However, it’s not quite the jungle it seems from the outside, and recently Trading Standards has been intervening on behalf of both tenants and landlords by going after rogue agents who are flouting the law on lettings.
By law, letting agents have to publish their fees online and give the same information in their branches so that landlords and tenants who are thinking of using the services know from the beginning how much they are paying and what the fees cover. Letting agents that are not complying with the law can face fines of up to £5000 for each offence.
Working to Improve Standards
There’s actually a body that works to improve the professional and ethical standards in the lettings business – the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). They’ve developed a training course that can be taken online which focuses on enforcement action against agents for not displaying the fees and also not making it clear whether they are a member of a scheme that protects their clients’ money or can arbitrate in the case of a dispute.
Generation Rent Fed Up with Sky-High Deposits
The Financial Times reported recently that as well as the proposed ban on agents charging fees to tenants, the government was looking at placing a ceiling on deposits, setting up an enforcement agency and making non-compliance a criminal matter.
There are two million people renting in London, so clearly there are lots of votes involved. The Mayor of London is very keen that the government should move quickly to implement these changes.
However, a senior officer at Camden Council also added that most of the lettings industry went out of their way to do things correctly. Certainly, most letting agents in Gloucester, such as http://www.alexclarkglos.co.uk, deal fairly with both tenants and landlords. The fact is that in places other than London reputation is very important and agents want repeat business. The best way they can do this is by making sure that both parties in the letting are happy.
The problem with removing fees from tenants is that somebody has to pay them, and landlords tend to pass increased costs on as increased rent.