Trading Standards is sent list of almost 20 letting agents not displaying fees

An agent has sent a list of lettings firms which he claims are not displaying their fees to a number of organisations, including Trading Standards and Action Fraud.

The agent, who is based in Middlesex, said he spent no more than ten minutes on Zoopla to find 19 agents whose listings make no mention of fees – not even saying that fees apply.

Most of the agents on the list are in and around London, but there is one in Slough and another in Liverpool. The agent says he is in the middle of putting together a far longer list.

The list has so far been sent to Trading Standards in the London boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow and Hillingdon, where the majority of the agents operate, plus Action Fraud, Watchdog and both ombudsman schemes. EYE was also sent a copy.

The agent, who does not want to be named, said: “It’s not that these agents have forgotten to display or disclose their fees to customers.

“They do it on purpose, so that they can charge whatever they want, just depending on how desperate the customer is.

“All these agents should be hit with heavy fines.”

He said he had been able to compile the list effortlessly, and said that it is something that Trading Standards should be doing.

He said: “Shame on the organisations turning a blind eye to this.”

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12 Comments

  1. Jonti500

    I have had the exact same issues in the North West. The amazing replies to me included the Ombudsman suggested I contact the agents directly, the PRS suggestion was to make a complaint to the agents and the Trading Standards in Manchester didn’t know about it and were getting back to me. That was three months ago and I still await! If the governing bodies are so lax then evidently the agents will continue to flaunt the Law and those agents who actually “care” are being penalised! Sounds like business as usual to me…

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  2. DarrelKwong43

    I sent an email to PropertyMark compliance dept highlighting members who were not displaying fees, it took them 4 weeks just to acknowledge the email

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    1. MF

      I have had similar issues with Arla over the last few years and now, after more than 25 years of membership, I’m very seriously considering letting my membership lapse when the next renewal comes round.  They are a very different organisation to what they once were and when I ask myself what the benefits of membership currently are, I struggle to find an answer.

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  3. MF

    I’m based in the Borough of Hounslow and it took them until the beginning of this year to start visiting agents to check compliance.  It started with a letter which was apparently sent to all agents in the borough and warned that they would be visiting and that they would be taking action against any agents not complying fully with the law.  I had my visit.  I presumed all other agents had their visits and I’m therefore staggered to hear that there are still agents in this borough not displaying their fees as they should.

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  4. JWVW

    We received a visit recently after another agent ‘grassed us up’ as not displaying landlord fees on our website. Fees are very clearly displayed on our website, but they had to visit anyway (despite the officer having seen the info on our website – what a waste of time and money) and were on their way to visit other agents in the area who he said “faced some problems”. Surrey area.

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  5. Russell Williams

    I’ve just looked at the exact same property on Rightmove, OTM and Zoopla.  I tried to include the links, but think I’m doing something wrong as nowt appears to be happening.

    Anyway, it’s £595 in Midsomer Norton.  2 beds.

    On Rightmove and OTM the fees info is shown.  On Zoopla, it isn’t.  Suggests to me that something is wrong at Zoopla’s end and not with the agency.  Maybe Middlsesex agent should have carried out his research on a better website, lol.

    Cue frantic follow up letters to ARLA and co! 🙂

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  6. jeremy1960

    Good luck with that! Down here in Dorset I’ve reported lots of agents and trading standards do nothing. It was even suggested by TSO that I contact ARLA and the Ombudsman to report the agents so just for a laugh I contacted Arla (incidentally we binned ARLA over their **** dealings over fee ban!) they just responded that the companies were members of redress schemes??

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    1. DarrelKwong43

      JC, Dorset councils could not organise the proverbial **** up in a brewery

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  7. Chris Wood

    1. Purplebricks LPEs are supposedly all registered with TPOS* at various locations round the UK (see link below)

    2. Purplebricks advertise they are ARLA Property Mark Protected members** See bottom strap line on PURP website. Now compare with the public listing of the 1st listed member on TPOS register of members

    Purplebricks
    Registered Name: Wolverhampton Lettings PB Limited Company Number: 10233285
    195 Aldersley Road, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV6 9NJ
    07791620623 Residential Sales Residential Lettings Estate Agents Letting Agents Lettings
    A quick check on the ARLA page shows no purplebricks members within a 20 mile radius of Wolverhampton

    3. It is highly doubtful that all/ any of these have their fees (or the TPO logo) in these premises***

    4. The law makes it clear that

    “(2)
    The agent must display a list of the fees—
     
    (a)at each of the agent’s premises at which the agent deals face-to-face with persons using or proposing to use services to which the fees relate, and
     
    (b)at a place in each of those premises at which the list is likely to be seen by such persons.
     
    (3)The agent must publish a list of the fees on the agent’s website (if it has a website).
     
    (4)A list of fees displayed or published in accordance with subsection (2) or (3) must include—
     
    (a)a description of each fee that is sufficient to enable a person who is liable to pay it to understand the service or cost that is covered by the fee or the purpose for which it is imposed (as the case may be),
     
    (b)in the case of a fee which tenants are liable to pay, an indication of whether the fee relates to each dwelling-house or each tenant under a tenancy of the dwelling-house, and
     
    (c)the amount of each fee inclusive of any applicable tax or, where the amount of a fee cannot reasonably be determined in advance, a description of how that fee is calculated.
     

    I defy anyone without prior knowledge of the PURP website to easily find the fees payable by tenants on the Purplebricks website (an IT professional friend of mine and I had to resort to Google Site search to find them). I.e. is “the list (..) likely to be seen by such persons”?

    ** “Propertymark Protected members are qualified property professionals who hold client money in designated client accounts which are independently inspected every year. ” http://www.arla.co.uk/find-agent/ 

    ***Legislation:  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/section/83/enacted

    *Link for verification https://www.tpos.co.uk/find-a-member – Methodology add “Purplebricks in the name field, leave location field blank.

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    1. qweasdzxc

      likely to be seen by such persons is only required in 2(b) of your quoted law. This only applies to the premises, not the website – a place in each of those premises at which the list is likely to be seen by such persons.

      The only requirement for the website is that the fees be on their website. They do not need to be easily found.

      Also, this does not state that the fees list needs to be shown on third party websites such as Z, RM or OTM. Is there some other piece of law that makes this a requirement?

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      1. Russell Williams

        It’s Advertising Standards Authority rulings that say fees must be displayed on websites, including on portals, and that the fees must be easily found.

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  8. Property Poke In The Eye

    It’s all a waste of time exercise displaying here there and everywhere and never being enforced when needed by Trading Standards etc.

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