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Posted on May 15th 2014 by admin-movingin

Letting agents will have to publish fees in full, says Government

Letting agents will be required to publish full details of the fees they charge under plans announced by Government ministers on Tuesday.

The Government says the move ensures a fair deal for landlords and tenants, “closing off the opportunity for a small minority of rogue agents to impose unreasonable, hidden charges”. It added that the common sense approach avoids excessive state regulation which would push up rents for tenants.

Currently, the Advertising Standards Authority only requires letting agents to list compulsory charges to the tenant upfront in the process. Those letting agents who are found to have imposed hidden charges face little more than being “named and shamed” on the Advertising Standards Authority’s website.

But the Government wants to go further than this, and will require all letting agents to publish a full tariff of their fees – both on their websites and prominently in their offices. Anyone who does not comply with these new rules will face a fine – a much stricter penalty than currently exists.

This week’s plans add to the work the Government is already doing to offer stronger protections for landlords and tenants in the private rented sector, whilst avoiding excessive regulation which would force up rents and reduce choice.

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.”