ARLA Propertymark is urging the government to continue taking action to clampdown on unscrupulous agents in the letting industry.
A significant number of buy-to-let landlords do not use letting agents to find or manage rental properties, and many more could follow suit after London Trading Standards issued a stark warning that many people are being ripped off by rogue letting agents.
This caution comes as figures released as part of London Trading Standards Week reveal that letting agents were fined more than £1.2m over a 15-month period for breaking the law.
According to London Trading Standards, just over 46% of 1,922 letting agents inspected in the 15 months up to June 2019 by local council trading standards officers were non-compliant with either the Consumer Rights Act and/or the legislation on redress scheme membership.
As well as the fines, London boroughs instigated 14 criminal prosecutions for a range of offences including breaches of unfair trading rules.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “We’re really pleased to see Trading Standards prosecuting bad practice in the industry; it’s the only way to clean up the sector and we’ve been calling for it for a long time.
“People should remember that if they can’t see an agent’s fee template, CMP certificate and redress scheme membership prominently displayed in their office, that’s three laws that they have already broken. This raises the question what other laws will that agent break? At that stage, a tenant should walk straight out and choose an ARLA Propertymark member where agents follow a strict code of conduct which puts the tenant first.
“It’s also why we have been calling on the government to regulate letting agents and are pleased that plans are well underway for mandatory registration and training for all letting agents”.