Landlord News

Watchdog Warns Landlords and Tenants about Letting Agents

Em Morley - February 16, 2013

The Government and journalists have been discussing whether private rental sector landlords should have stricter regulations put upon them, as a consequence of a high amount of people living in rental accommodation at a record high.

However, landlords are also trying to protect their income in a time of high living costs and the expectations associated with this.

Watchdog Warns Landlords and Tenants about Letting Agents

Watchdog Warns Landlords and Tenants about Letting Agents

Landlords who have large portfolios, or have another full-time job often rely on letting agents to manage their properties. However, watchdogs are warning landlords that some agencies provide a poor service and charge excessive fees for doing so.

Additionally, tenants could also fall victim to letting agents’ fees, as some agencies charge fees to landlords that they then have to pass on to tenants in order to safeguard their income.

Expectedly, The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has received more than 4,000 complains against letting agents from both landlords and tenants, and states that there needs to be changes in the way that letting agents practise. One of the most common complains is that letting agents often charge fees that are not expected after the contract is signing, or are gradually implemented into the contracts.1

Additionally, there are long periods in which problems are not resolved because of a lack of communication between letting agents and landlords, and letting agents and tenants.

Senior Director of Goods and Consumers at the OFT, Cavendish Elithorn, says: “Our findings shows that tenants and landlords are often dissatisfied with their agents but we also know that most agents want to do the right thing.

“It’s important that tenants ask for key information, but we also believe the Government, industry, and enforcers working together can have a real impact and improve overall standards in the lettings market.”1

Ian Potter, Managing Director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), also comments: “The OFT’s report highlights some of the problems with the rental sector.

“Today, the sector is expanding as home ownership becomes out of reach for many; however lack of regulations and pressures on housing supply mean some unscrupulous landlords and agents are able to take advantage of consumers, and are driving down the reputation and standards of the sector as a whole.”1