London Rental Agents Fined over £1.2m

Legal improvements have increased tenant protections but renters

(especially those from overseas) need to be properly supported in the UK

Rogue UK letting agents have been fined over £1.2m for breaking the law according to figures from London Trading Standards.

Almost half of the 1,922 rental agents inspected by local council trading standards officers, were non-compliant with either the Consumer Rights Act and/or the legislation on the redress scheme membership.

Stephen Knight, London Trading Standards’ Operations Director, said: “London borough trading standards teams have been increasingly active in tackling rogue letting agents in recent years, with over £1.2m of fines issued in the past 15 months and 14 criminal prosecutions, but dodgy agents are far too commonplace across London and private renters need to be very careful not to be ripped off.”

The Tenant Fees Act, which applies to tenancy agreements signed since 1 June 2019, sets out the Government’s approach to banning letting agent fees for tenants. However, renters (and especially those from overseas) continue to be duped into paying fees that are now banned by the new law.

The new law is a big improvement but tenants need to be aware of their rights and the new legislation is quite complex and technical. It is important that renters arriving from overseas should be provided with a rental support professional who will look after their interests. Letting or rental agents only look after the landlords' interests and their own interests as agents.

An unrepresented tenant has nobody looking out for their interests. This is why employers who relocate staff members to the UK should provide them with proper support from a destination service provider who can and will protect them from all the rogue agents and landlords.

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