East Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards team wants to ensure that all letting agents are aware of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which requires them to publicise a full list of their fees on their website and in their office.
The aim of the new rule is to make it easier for landlords and tenants to shop around, avoid hidden charges and prevent double charging where both could be charged for the same service.
“The new legislation promotes transparency among letting agents and allows landlords and residents to find the most suitable deal for them,” said Councillor Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for economy.
“Our Trading Standards team wants to make sure that letting agents are fully aware of the new rules and that they are displaying the information they are required to display.”
Letting agents must also display details of the redress scheme they are signed up to and whether they are a member of a client money protection scheme – a scheme which ensures clear separation between money that belongs to a customer and that belonging to the letting agent.
Trading Standards officers are encouraging prospective tenants to report any letting agent who fails to display their fees to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.
Trading Standards can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where it is satisfied that someone is engaged in letting work and is required to publish their fees and other details, but has not done so.