Letting agents hit with fines after council crackdown on display of fees

Letting agents in one borough have been fined over £14,000 after a crackdown by the local authority on the display of fees.

Thurrock Council, in Essex, says the money raised by the fines will be used for further enforcement.

The authority launched its crackdown last summer, visiting 33 agencies and subsequently issued 13 with a notice of intent.

It has now issued fines totalling £14,100 to agents not complying with consumer rights laws requiring agents to display their fees; the redress scheme to which they are signed up; and whether they offer Client Money Protection.

One estate agent, Edward Clark Estates, appealed the penalty charge of £3,250 on the grounds that a member of staff was on holiday at the time the advice letter was sent and the amount of the penalty was unreasonable.

However, the court responsible for these cases – the General Regulatory Chamber – dismissed these arguments and ruled in favour of Thurrock Council.

Cllr Rob Gledhill, leader of the council and portfolio holder for housing, said: “It is right that the council is taking action on those letting agents who flout the law and are not supplying the residents of Thurrock a high level of service.

“The legislation was passed in 2015, so there is no excuse for not meeting the requirements. Even after our officers visited these agents, some decided not to take the action needed.

“Well, now they face the consequences. The rental market in Thurrock is a very lucrative one so I want to make sure letting agents are doing their part. The £14,100 raised in fines will be used to fund further enforcement activity by our Trading Standards team to help protect Thurrock residents.”

2 Comments

  1. ringi

    Too little too late……
    What about checking the on-line listings of all agents?
    What about doing under cover viewings and checking that ALL viewers are given a copy of the chargers at the time of the viewing along with the EPC etc?

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  2. A_J42

    I work for an agent in one of the counties targeted by TPO re: fee display. We submitted proof of our fee display before the deadline in November, and after a follow up email, were told we were compliant. But beyond that, we’ve heard nothing about what will be happening to/with the agents we know are not compliant (because we carried out our own investigation). Hopefully, there will be an update soon. Can understand a Council pushing it themselves.

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