Even the most prolific of negotiator would balk at taking home £36k in 60 days, but that is exactly what this 50 year-old managed simply by understanding the law a little better than agents in their local area.
Granted, the semi-centennial in question is Milton Keynes – celebrating its 50th birthday in 2017, and it had considerable help from the local trading standards department. Never-the-less it is still quite an achievement!
So what happened?
Not a lot really, considering the pay-off.
Local Trading Standards conducted some research about the level of awareness in the local market concerning agents’ duties to publicise fees and charges – this suggested that many were unaware of their transparency obligations.
To correct this, Milton Keynes Trading Standards wrote to 105 letting agents in the city reminding them that following the implementation of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, all fees, charges and penalties payable by a landlord or tenant in respect of letting agency or management work must be displayed.
So far so good…
Two months later, having given agents some time for the information to percolate, Trading Standards visited the same 105 agents’ premises.
The good news was that 75 agents were in full compliance.
The bad news?
The remaining 30 (29 per cent) were breaching the rules – all of whom received fines, in total amounting to £36,000.
The moral of the story
We all find new regulations a nuisance at times, but when it comes to publicising your fees it is significantly cheaper to put a tariff on the wall than face a fine of up to £5,000 – especially if you’re given two months’ notice!
The takeaway message
Agents in England and Wales have a duty to publicise fees.
All fees, charges or penalties (however expressed) which are payable to an agent by a landlord or tenant in relation to an Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be displayed.