Letting Agents, Are You Ready To Display All Your Fees?
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 has made it a legal requirement for all lettings agents in England to display details of all fees and charges on websites and in offices from next Wednesday, 27 May 2015.
Official guidance, which has been drawn up by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) with input from the Advertising Standards Authority, says what must be displayed is as follows:
"All fees, charges or penalties (however expressed) which are payable to the agent by a landlord or tenant in respect of letting agency work and property management work carried out by the agent in connection with an assured tenancy. This includes fees, charges or penalties in connection with an assured tenancy of a property or a property that is, has been or is proposed to be let under an assured tenancy".
However, an agent does not need to publicise the rent payable to a landlord, the tenancy deposit which is taken as security against damage or violation of the tenancy agreement and any fees, charges or penalties which the letting agent receives from a landlord under a tenancy on behalf of another person.
The fees which should be displayed must be on show at the agent's office in such a way as it will be seen by customers."Ideally someone walking into an agent's office should be able to see the list without having to ask for it and if someone does ask it should be clearly on view and not hidden for example in a drawer" say the guidelines.
The advice also emphasises that "the list of fees must be comprehensive and clearly defined. There is no scope for surcharges or hidden fees. Ill-defined terms such as "administration cost" must not be used. All costs must include tax".
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has created set of fees templates for letting agents to download, which have come about after a meeting with DCLG to clarify queries raised by the wording of the act.
David Cox, ARLA MD said "The new legislation contained within the Consumer Rights Act 2015, requiring letting agents to clearly publicise their fees, will come into force next week. In addition, letting agents will also be obliged to state whether or not they are a member of a client protection scheme and which redress scheme they are signed up to".
"We are reminding all our members to comply fully with the new measures; relevant information should be placed prominently in offices where letting agents have face to face contact with clients, as well as on their websites. Any costs to landlords and tenants must be clearly defined and comprehensively outlined, including all fees, charges and penalties that may be charged before, during and after a tenancy".
"We urge all our members to make the necessary changes now before next week's deadline, to ensure that they do not fall foul of this new legislation".PCHomes Letting Agent Software, offers a full property management system, making it easy to handlle all your Tenant Fees, Window Cards & Particulars, Portal Uploads and Website Management, assisting you to keep compliant with the law.
To find out more about our award winning software services and website design, speak to a member of our
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Written by Deb Roberts
Source Estates IT Ltd