In the guide

This guidance is for England

One of the provisions in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 relates to requirements for accommodation letting agents and property management businesses to display their fees and charges to clients.

Relevant businesses

The requirements relate to businesses that receive instructions from clients regarding accommodation to be let under assured tenancy agreements to:

  • introduce prospective tenants to landlords with available accommodation for rent
  • arrange assured tenancy contracts between landlords and tenants
  • carry out property management services for landlords
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Relevant fees

The fees that have to be indicated are the fees, charges and penalties payable to the letting agent by their clients under contracts for:

  • introducing tenants to landlords with available accommodation for rent
  • arranging assured tenancy agreements
  • the management of rental properties

However, the following fees do not have to be indicated:

  • rental charges
  • tenancy deposits
  • any fees, charges, penalties that the letting agent receives from a landlord under a tenancy on behalf of another person
  • any other fees, charges or penalties specified in regulations

An assured tenancy is one as defined in the Housing Act 1988 (excluding long leases as defined in the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993) except where the landlord is a:

  • private registered provider of social housing
  • registered social landlord
  • fully mutual housing association
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Display requirements

Letting agents must display a list of relevant fees:

  • in each of their premises where they deal with clients or potential clients face-to-face
  • on their website (if they have one)

This list must be displayed in a conspicuous place.

Where a letting agent advertises on a third party website that agent must either:

  • display a list of their relevant fees on that website
    ... or 
  • provide a link on that website to a part of the agent’s website where a list of those fees is published.
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Fees content

The displayed fees list must include:

  • an adequate description of each fee and its purpose
  • whether the fee is payable for the accommodation or by each tenant
  • the total amount of the fee inclusive of all taxes
  • the method of calculating the fee, if the fee cannot be determined in advance
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Client money protection

Property agents (those who engage in letting agency or property management work in England) are required to belong to an approved client money protection scheme.

Such property agents must display or publish, together with the required list of fees, a statement indicating that the agent is a member of a client money protection scheme and providing the name of the scheme.

If the client money protection scheme to which a property agent belongs issues a certificate confirming membership of the scheme, the property agent must:

  • display the certificate at each of the agent's premises in England at which the agent deals face-to-face with clients in a place where it is likely to be seen by the clients
  • publish a copy of the certificate on the agent's website (if they have one)
  • produce a copy of the certificate to any person who may reasonably require it, free of charge

Property agents must notify clients in writing within 14 days if their membership of a client money protection scheme is revoked or provide clients with details if they change membership to a different scheme.

Guidance on client money protection is available on the GOV.UK website.

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Complaint redress scheme 

Letting agents engaging in letting agency or property management work relating to private accommodation must be a member of a redress scheme for dealing with complaints in connection with that work.

Such businesses must display: 

  • a statement that they are a member of a redress scheme, and 
  • the name of the redress scheme

For more information see Letting Agents and Property Managers: Which Government Approved Scheme do you Belong To?, which was produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. 

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Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement & penalties'.

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Key legislation

Housing Associations Act 1985

Housing Act 1988

Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993

Housing Act 1996

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc) (England) Order 2014

Consumer Rights Act 2015

Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc) Regulations 2019  

 

Last reviewed / updated: July 2019

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.

Feedback

Consumer enquiries from England, Scotland and Wales are handled by the Citizens Advice Consumer Service who can be contacted by telephone on 03454 04 05 06. Consumer enquiries in Northern Ireland are handled by ConsumerLine who can be contacted by telephone on 0300 1236262. Call charges may vary.

Business enquiries are dealt with by your local council. Use the Chartered Trading Standards Institute's postcode finder to locate your local trading standards team.