Letting agent fined £5000 for not advertising fees

A letting agency which was fined after not showing its fees has had its appeal against the maximum £5,000 fine rejected by a judge.

Hamlet Homes was fined by Reading Borough Council after breaching the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The council has previously said that nine in ten agents in the town do not comply.

The Act requires agents to advertise their fees, to state whether or not they are a member of a Client Money Protection scheme and give details of the redress scheme they belong to.

The firm, in Oxford Road, Reading, was visited by the council’s Private Sector Housing Team in January and given until April to rectify the situation, but did not do so.

As a result, the firm was issued with a notice of intent, which resulted in the £5,000 fine.

At the appeal, the company director Gurprit Singh Johal and company secretary Kamalpreet Johal argued they were not adequately informed it was a legal requirement or what the timescale was.

They also claimed the fine was excessive.

But Judge Brian Kennedy QC ruled he was satisfied the business had failed to comply with the law and dismissed the appeal.

Reading Borough Council warned in March this year that almost 90% of agents in the town were not publishing their fees and warned it would go after them.

Cllr Richard Davies, Reading’s lead member for housing, said: “The council’s Private Sector Housing Team are working hard to enforce the new regulations in the Consumer Rights Act and are getting results.

“Most agents who are visited comply with the law within an agreed period if they are not already. Unfortunately, in this one case the agents failed to take action despite repeated warnings and visits.

“I hope the outcome of this case demonstrates that the council will do everything in its powers to ensure all letting agents abide by these regulations which are there to protect tenants and landlords.”

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Written by: Houseladder