McCartan Lettings and Property Management, based in Killay, Swansea, are urging all lettings agents across the Swansea area to comply with recent changes in industry standards.
Research undertaken in May 2016 found that out of 50 letting and managing agents based in Swansea, only 17 were displaying fees in full, in accordance with the requirement of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Over 50% were not displaying fees chargeable to tenants, and 62% were not displaying fees chargeable to landlords.
The changes to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 make it a legal requirement for all letting and managing agents in England and Wales to publicise details, in branch and online, of all of their fees to Landlords and Tenants, and to say whether they have client money protection (CMP) insurance in place. The intention is for full transparency, enabling and empowering tenants and landlords to shop around for service and the price that suits their needs.
Their research was published in Property Industry Eye last week, bringing the issue to national attention. In the comments below the article, agents in other parts of England and Wales reported similar situations in their localities.
Speaking about the changes in industry standards, Hannah McCartan, Managing Director at McCartan Lettings, said: “It’s now been over a year since the Act came into force, but many agents are still not complying, effectively leaving tenants and landlords in the dark about the true cost of letting until the eleventh hour, by which time, it might be too late to opt out.
McCartan Lettings has always been committed to full fee transparency, making clients aware of all their fees and unlike most other agents, we don’t have mark-ups on things such as general maintenance and don’t charge for deposit submission and/or management hidden in their contracts.
As a business owner, it is frustrating that the Government bring in this legislation for tenants and landlords to be more empowered, but it’s become more complicated and confusing than ever before as so many agents are not compliant, there’s no consistency. It’s not a level playing field and rogue agents are getting away with profiting from the confusion and lack of policing.”
If tenants or landlords are not happy with the service they receive from lettings and managing agents, they can complain to one of the three Government-approved redress schemes. This will make it easier for tenants and landlords to complain about bad service and will prevent disputes escalating.
The three Government approved schemes are:-
- Ombudsman Property Services (www.ombudsman-services.org/property)
- Property Redress Scheme (www.theprs.co.uk)
- Property Ombudsman (www.tpos.co.uk)
It is the Council’s duty to enforce the scheme, and if letting or managing agents fail to join an approved scheme, they can be fined up to £5000.
Click here to read the article in Property Industry Eye. If you would like to discuss the Act and/or our fee structure, please give the team at McCartan Lettings a call on 01792 430100.