Letting agents must publish fee details or face a fine

Letting agents will have to publish full details of the fees they charge or face a fine under new regulations being introduced by the government.

Ministers say the move will help to ensure a fairer deal for both landlords and tenants.

Under the current regulations, agents have to list their compulsory charges to the tenant. However, if an agent then imposes hidden charges, the sanction against them is little more than being named and shamed on the Advertising Standards Authority website.

The government doesn’t think this is a sufficient deterrent and will now require all letting agents to publish a full tariff of their fees on their websites, and in a prominent position in their offices. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

It’s hoped the move will provide greater protection for landlords and tenants without imposing excessive regulation which could force up rents.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “The vast majority of letting agents provide a good service to tenants and landlords. But we are determined to tackle the minority of rogue agents who offer a poor service. Ensuring full transparency and banning hidden fees is the best approach, giving consumers the information they want and supporting good letting agents.

“Short-term gimmicks like trying to ban any fee to tenants means higher rents by the back door. Excessive state regulation and waging war on the private rented sector would also destroy investment in new housing, push up prices and make it far harder for people to find a flat or house to rent.”

The measure will be introduced as an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill. We shall keep clients informed of developments.

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