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Posted on September 13th 2018 by admin-movingin

Name and shame rip-off agents demand Trading Standards and NALS

Trading Standards departments in London are asking renters to name and shame letting agents who are not complying with the law – and the campaign in the capital is just part of a national initiative. 

A statement from London’s borough councils’ Trading Standards teams says that in June this year, a website survey of letting agents in the capital revealed an extremely high level of non-compliance with the requirement to display fees and other information. 

A survey of 137 letting agent websites revealed that:

– 53 per cent were not displaying a Client Money Protection statement;

– 37 per cent were not displaying landlord fees;

– 31 per cent were not displaying tenant fees.

Trading Standards says that this shows, three years after providing this information became a legal requirement, some agents continue to flout the law. In one case, Trading Standards in Islington took action against a letting agent who used a rental licence, which attempts to take away tenants’ rights. 

Now London Trading Standards is advising those who experience or know of a letting agent acting unfairly to report them to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 – it will then be passed on to the relevant Trading Standards service. 

The TS initiative has also produced a post showing what renters should look for in an agent when renting a flat, and it has reproduced the official How To Rent guide, which it describes as “an invaluable resource to help stop tenants from being ripped-off.”

A series of statements in support of the Trading Standards initiatives includes one from Isobel Thomson, chief executive of the National Approved Letting Scheme, who says:  “Professional letting agents who work hard to ensure they adhere to the law have their name tarnished by the agents who fail to comply. Only by reporting these agents can we stamp out rogues, and improve the private rented sector for all. 

“We would also urge consumers to check their agent is a member of a professional regulatory organisation like NALS who will have a strict code of conduct to ensure the highest standards”. 

Meanwhile housing minister Heather Wheeler MP says: “Working with trading standards teams in London and across the country, we are stopping rogue landlords and agents in their tracks. The new measures in our Tenant Fees Bill will save renters around £240m a year by banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits.”