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Agents Upfront About Fees, Say Tenants

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: June 02, 2014

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The majority of tenants say their letting agent was upfront about the fees they would need to pay to secure their tenancy, according to research by the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA)*.

Letting agent fees is a topic that has come under close scrutiny in the past, but UKALA’s latest research findings show that four out of five (81%) tenants say their letting agent explained what fees they would be required to pay at the beginning of the tenancy, either comprehensively (50%), or in part (31%).

However, one in 10 tenants (10%) say their agent did not explain what fees they’d be required to pay from the outset and a further 10 per cent couldn’t recall what information they received in relation to tenancy charges.

New changes soon to affect all agents in England

The news comes before important legislative changes that will grant both tenants and landlords the right to independent redress if their letting agent fails to resolve a complaint to their satisfaction. The requirement, part of the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Act, will mean all letting agents in England must belong to a government approved property redress scheme when implemented later this year.

UKAKA and Ombudsman Services pre-empt changes

UKALA and Ombudsman Services (OS) can today announce a partnership that will see all existing and future UKALA members automatically comply with the forthcoming requirements ahead of time.

Ombudsman services, one of the leading providers of independent redress in the property sector and with over 12 years’ experience of dealing with property disputes, gained government approval this week to operate a scheme under the new legislation.

As well as complying with the forthcoming legislative requirements, all UKALA agents also have access to the following additional benefits as part of their membership:

Free online development and CPD

Client Money Protection insurance

Membership of the National Landlords Association (NLA) Recognised Supplier Scheme

Richard Price, UKALA Executive Director, commented:

“Our research findings suggest the majority of agents are upfront with their tenants about the fees they charge at the outset of the tenancy. However, we recognise that there are many other causes for disputes and that more can be done to strengthen redress in the private rented sector when issues do occur.

“At UKALA we lead the way and we want to reassure our members – and all letting agents in England – that complying with this new requirement will be as simple as possible and that we’re on hand to support them with the forthcoming changes.

“Importantly, our partnership with Ombudsman Services means that UKALA members need not worry and will automatically comply with the new provisions when implemented in England later this year”.

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman says:

“We are delighted that UKALA has recognised the value and quality of our model of independent redress and are proud to be providing the dispute resolution service for them.

“This is good news for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector who can be confident that we will help if there is a problem that their letting or managing agent cannot resolve. Our service is free for the complainant and easy to use.”

*UKALA Tenant Panel research, December 2013 - 647 online respondents. Research findings include tenants with both UKALA and non UKALA agents.

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