The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team is responsible for the regulation of estate agency work in the UK, and for lettings agency work in England, see the Guidance tab above. Agents must register for up to 4 different levels of consumer protection, depending on the services they offer, choosing from 12 approved providers, listed below.
This directory is under construction* and will combine the information provided by these organisations into a single source, to help consumers and enforcement bodies:
Some agents are registered at providers with different information (e.g. Legal name vs Trading name) or different addresses. This can give rise to 2 entries for the same business. If you can't see an expected registration for any particular agent, please contact the agent or provider directly.
This directory is not an endorsement or recommendation of the service offered by any agent. Searches are limited to 100 results, to prevent unauthorised use. Trading Standards and other authorised users may contact us for wider access.
|Category / Provider||Status||Update|
|Dispute Resolution (Redress)|
Redress schemes can help resolve complaints which customers and property agents have not been able to resolve between themselves.
|The Property Ombudsman||Live||Daily|
|The Property Redress Scheme||Live||Daily|
|Client Money Protection|
Client Money Protection Schemes make sure that landlords and tenants are compensated if the agent can't repay their money, for example if the agent goes into administration.
|Client Money Protect||Live|
|RICS||Test data||24 June|
|SafeAgent||Initial List||24 June|
|UKALA||Initial List||13 July|
|Tenancy Deposit Protection|
Landlords must put client deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) for homes rented on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. Tenants must not rely on the fact that a business *usually* uses a particular scheme, but must be shown written evidence of the correct registration of each individual deposit.
|Deposit Protection Service|
|Tenancy Deposit Scheme|
|Anti Money Laundering|
Money laundering means exchanging money or assets that were obtained criminally for money or other assets that are ‘clean’. The clean money or assets do not have an obvious link with any criminal activity. Money laundering also includes money that’s used to fund terrorism, however it’s obtained. Property Agents must register with HMRC's Supervised Business Register, subject to certain exceptions.
|Supervised Business Register HMRC||Under Review|
Agent making false membership claims or not listed?
If you believe that an agent is wrongly claiming to be a member of any of the providers listed above, or if you are searching for an agent that is not listed here please contact The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team.
Complaint about an agent?
The team does not give individual advice to consumers or businesses, or mediate in individual complaints made against a business. Please contact the relevant scheme, using the links on the page for that agent. If you need advice, please contact:
Agents only have to register for those protections which relate to the type of service that they provide (e.g. sales or lettings or both) and some exclusions apply (eg HMRC registration isn't needed where lettings are less than 10,000 euros per property per month). We therefore propose to include a "not applicable" flag to make it easier to see where an agent is fully compliant despite showing fewer than 4 registrations.
Up to date?
Providers may update their data as often as they wish and preferably no less than daily/overnight. The entry for each agent shows the date and time when it was last updated by the scheme provider, but this may sometimes be subject to delays for technical or other reasons. If in doubt, please confirm an agent's current membership directly with the provider, using the links on their business page within this site.
If you are treating consumers, business customers and competitors fairly and honestly, then you are unlikely to fall foul of the regulations.
Nonetheless, we suggest that you use this guidance to review your commercial practices and ensure that they are compliant, and to decide for yourself what steps you should take.
In this section, we set out some of the practical steps that we think would help you to demonstrate compliance with the regulations.
Following these steps should help you to show that you are acting in an appropriate way and doing what could be reasonably expected of you to treat consumers, business customers and competitors fairly.
What is reasonable to expect of you will depend on the nature of your commercial practice, the services that you provide and the factual context (for example what stage of the marketing or sale process has been reached).
Within the scope of your business activities, you need to consider:
There is a defence of due diligence to some criminal offences ...
under the CPRs
... and BPRs
In order to prove that you have behaved with due diligence, you need to show that you committed the offence because of:
AND that you took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence.
The key thing to bear in mind is that you need to be able to show that you acted appropriately to minimise the risk of something going wrong (due to a mistake, an accident etc).
For example, where you rely on information supplied by someone else (such as your client), you must still exercise your own judgement before including it in your marketing.
If you are prosecuted for failing to show professional diligence (which the CPRs prohibit generally) you will not have a due diligence defence available to you – what is listed above will not apply.
If you knowingly or recklessly allow your conduct to fall below the standards of professional diligence, and you do something that materially distorts the economic behaviour of the average consumer, you will be committing a criminal offence under the CPRs.
It is therefore important that you review your conduct, processes and training regularly – and make all necessary changes to demonstrate that you are not behaving recklessly and are not knowingly engaging in conduct that is not professionally diligent.
If you are a company officer, you should also note, in relation to any criminal prosecution under the CPRs or BPRs, that you need to exercise proper control and supervision of your staff.
You can be personally liable if an offence is committed by your staff, and it can be shown that this was due to your consent or connivance, or to neglect on your part.
If someone else commits an offence (apart from failing to show professional diligence) under the CPRs or the BPRs, and they can show that the offence was due to your act or default, you will also be guilty of the offence.
Alternatively, if the other person is able to avoid liability by relying on due diligence, you may still be guilty of an offence if it is shown that it was your act or default that led to the situation. To avoid liability, you would then need to prove your own defence of due diligence.
Ensure that any information you provide when marketing your services, in whatever form (for example: flyers, websites, newspaper advertisements, verbal discussion), is true and accurate.
Take reasonable steps to check the facts stated in advertising, and be aware of findings being made by bodies such as the Advertising Standards Authority and relevant ombudsmen
Ensure that any comparisons you make with competitors
... for example your record of selling properties compared with theirs or the benefits of clients using your services as opposed to theirs ...
are fair, objective and can be substantiated.
Ensure that any information you have made available is not liable to mislead potential new clients, for example that:
are accurate and not out-of-date.
When offering to sell services to consumers, you must state your charges and fees inclusive of VAT.
Whether you charge a fixed fee or a percentage of an as yet unknown sale price, stating the fee or percentage inclusive of VAT is more meaningful for consumers.
In all cases you should make it as easy as possible for consumers to work out how much they will pay overall.
Make sure that you have a sound basis for your claims about market conditions and your advice on prices and prospects for sale.
If the market advice you are giving to potential sellers and buyers is inconsistent, despite relating to the same types of properties in the same area, re-examine and adjust your advice.
Give clients the information they need to make an informed and efficient choice, before an agreement is made and at each stage of the process thereafter.
Your terms and conditions should be clearly set out, and you should particularly highlight any surprising terms, both in the contract, and in brochures.
It is good practice to present a tariff of fees and charges, and to explain clearly what services you are going to provide.
Fees should be quoted inclusive of VAT to consumers, and in respect of property sales should be stated with an example based upon the marketing price, e.g. ‘Our commission is 1.2% (including VAT) - if your property sells for the asking price of £300,000 you will pay a fee of £3600’.
You must also make sure that clients understand the implications of sole selling and sole agency rights.
You should provide this information in writing, as this will help you to comply with the requirements of professional diligence.
It will also protect both you and your clients should disputes arise later on about what was said.
In the documentation you give to the client, make sure all material information is clear and prominent.
For property sales businesses that are engaging in ‘estate agency work’ (as defined in the Estate Agents Act 1979) that Act requires you to inform the client about certain types of information prior to agreement.
Give clients adequate time to read any written information you provide.
Before marketing a property we would expect a property sales business to gather sufficient information about the property in order to market it professionally and honestly.
This information should be gathered carefully and in good faith, and you should not simply rely on information provided by others ...
The extent of the information you are required to gather will depend on the circumstances of your business and the services you offer (which should be made clear to a consumer).
While the regulations apply to the full range of property sales businesses, the standards expected to comply with them, and to avoid liability, will depend on the circumstances and, in particular, the level of service that a business provides.
For example, at one end of the spectrum ...
Another type of service may be ...
The following paragraphs are aimed at mainstream property sales businesses that:
(although elements of these paragraphs may be relevant to business models which offer some of these services).
When you gather the information you need for marketing purposes, take reasonable steps to establish its truth and accuracy. The following framework may help you:
In general we would expect property sales businesses to carry out an inspection of the property, and to take reasonable steps to gather relevant information to provide to prospective purchasers.
Take note of:
Be observant. During an inspection you may observe things that put you on notice that further enquiries might be needed.
You should make sure you are in a position where you can answer accurately the reasonable queries of prospective purchasers in relation to such matters.
Draw on your professional knowledge of the local market:
For example, where a property is next to:
these facts must not be hidden or left out. You should not, for instance, edit photos of the property to remove undesirable features.
It is clearly material information whether a property is freehold or leasehold, but you may also need to highlight particular features of the title, such as:
Consider whether there is anything about the property and its sale that you should know but do not, or which makes you think that something is not quite right or that there may be a problem with you marketing it? If there is, then check things out.
Ask your client.
Ask your client for supporting documentation.
Consult official sources where appropriate. For example
In addition, it may help you to:
Ensure that the information you use in your property particulars and other marketing is true, accurate and unlikely to mislead. For example:
Before you market the property, ask your client:
Take care that you present information fairly and fully:
Wherever possible, provide accurate measurements (and, where it is not possible, make clear that the measurements are estimates).
Bear in mind that, while you are not responsible for the content of information supplied by other professionals (for example energy assessors and surveyors), you are responsible for:
Take care with qualifying statements.
Take particular care to verify any feature that you advertise as a particular selling point of a property – for example:
As a rule of thumb, the more prominently you stress a particular feature, the more likely it is to influence the average consumer's decision making.
While the property is on the market, keep particulars and other marketing materials up-to-date. One way to do this would be to:
To avoid confusion, ensure that you:
If you discover at any point during the marketing of a property that information is incorrect, act promptly to correct it.
It is important that potential buyers are able to access accurate information and property sales businesses play a crucial part in this process.
You should have taken steps to make sure that:
You may wish to signpost potential buyers to where they can find out more detailed information, for example:
Consider what information the prospective buyer might reasonably expect you to provide (given the services you are offering) at the outset, when they are trying to identify properties that they would want to view.
This is likely to include the main characteristics of the property and any non-standard features (for example no electricity, no landline or broadband connection). Wherever possible, make this information available to them before they commit to view the property.
You should also consider whether the particulars are adequate to contain all the material information the average buyer needs to know, and if not, what other means you could use to provide this information.
Consider especially what information the average consumer might reasonably expect you to provide (given the services you are offering) before they commit to paying money (for example for a survey or to retain a conveyancer), and, wherever possible, give them this information.
If new information comes to light about the property that you are marketing, for example when a sale falls through, consider:
The reason why a previous sale fell through will not always be material, for example:
However, where a survey reveals significant problems and you are put on notice that these problems do or may exist, you would be expected to make appropriate enquiries.
For example, if you become aware that Japanese Knotweed is growing in the garden of a property you are marketing, perhaps because a buyer pulls out of a sale and tells you, then you cannot ignore the problem:
You should use your professional judgement to assess new information, for example how credible it is, whether it needs exploring or whether it needs further corroboration.
You should take proportionate and reasonable steps to check the information:
Being thorough in the checks you take will help you to determine whether there is material information to be disclosed.
It will also help you to demonstrate that you took all reasonable steps to avoid committing a breach.
If your checks establish that there is:
then act promptly to avoid misleading actions or omissions.
Ensure that you keep clients informed about offers that are made, unless they have instructed you in writing not to do so.
It is good practice to keep a written record of all offers made and your related actions, in case there is a dispute later on about whether you passed on an offer (and how much it was) or not
Ask the prospective buyer how they would fund the purchase of your client's property, for example whether by
and give your client the answer.
Ensure that you keep clients informed of the
To keep a sale on track for exchange of contracts and completion, you may wish to chase up your client.
Where the process does not go smoothly, you should be careful not to put pressure on your client to accept a lower offer than they are willing to accept.
Ensure that you do not pressurise potential buyers into agreeing to receive services such as a mortgage or conveyancing work from you or a person connected to you.
For example, do not refuse to pass on their offers or restrict how you deal with those offers where potential buyers refuse to take out these services.
Be open with them about any referral fees or commission you will earn if they take up your recommendation.
Where a prospective buyer has made an offer, but the seller is waiting to see if any better offers are made, inform the prospective buyer promptly about the existence of any new offers.
To keep a sale on track for exchange of contracts and completion, you may wish to chase up the buyer.
If so, you should be careful not to put pressure on them to speed up the process – for example by dissuading them from having a survey done – or to encourage them to increase the price they are willing to pay by the use of any misleading information.
It is an important part of business practice to have accessible, appropriate and user friendly procedures in place so that all consumer enquiries are dealt with in an honest, fair, professional and reasonable manner.
this could be an aggressive practice under the regulations, and thus unlawful. It could also of course give rise to complaints under a redress scheme.
You should have an effective customer complaints procedure that is understood and followed by all staff who may come into contact with the public.
It is good practice to have a written complaints procedure that is available to the public.
Deal with complaints promptly, effectively and in a professional manner.
Make your best efforts to find a satisfactory solution to any complaints made.
Ensure that the steps you take to satisfy the consumer or business customer meet with reasonable expectations.
Keep a record of all complaints and note the final outcome.
Cooperate fully with any appropriate representative or intermediary, consulted by a consumer in respect of a complaint against you.
National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team
Powys County Council
Updated April 2019
Legislation may change over time
It is not necessarily comprehensive and is subject to revision in the light of further information.
This advice is not intended to be a definitive guide to, nor substitute for, the relevant law
NTSELAT aims to keep any advice or guidance timely and accurate
The following agents have been expelled from membership by the Property Ombudsman for failure to comply with the Ombudsman's award and/or direction. Any agent that appears on this list has been reported to Trading Standards and any other relevant Professional Body. TPO have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the other redress scheme which means that any agent cannot join the alternate scheme, where they have an outstanding matter with the other.
Company Name Company Registration Number
Last Known Trading Address
Month & Year of Expulsion
Let365co Limited (7881637)
35 High Street, Soham, Ely Cambridgeshire CB7 5HA
A & A Star Estates
A & A Star Estates Limited (9955300)
141 Ballards Lane, Finchley Central, London N3 1LJ
Abbey Property Hampstead Ltd (4980011)
7-8 Regency Parade, Finchley Road, London NW3 5EG
Abby Lettings and Sales
Abby Lettings and Sales Ltd (9953255)
65-67 Villette Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR2 8RD
The Drake Lawson Limited (7018343)
1 Odeon Parade, 480 London Road, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 4DE
Altavon Property Management Ltd
Altavon Property Management Ltd (9179189)
Suite 110 Crystal House, New Bedford Road, Luton LU1 1HS
Assetgrove Prime Sales & Lettings Ltd (10040152)
Devon House, Church Hill, London, N21 1LE
Barrington & Blake Estates Ltd
Barrington & Blake Estates Limited (5110015)
24 Commercial Street, Rothwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Berkshire Estate Agents Ltd
Berkshire Estate Agents Ltd 7411035
12-14 Windsor Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 2EJ
Blackhorse Property Management Limited 9159776
532 Thornton Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD8 9NB
Bower and Bower
Bower and Bower (Exeter) Ltd 9646927
25 Cowick Street, St Thomas, Exeter, Devon EX4 1AL
Bramptons Residential Estates Ltd
Bramptons Residential Estates Ltd 8644942
Park House, Park Square West Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 2PW
Chambers Estates Kent Ltd 10397566
167c High Street, Strood, Kent, ME2 4TH
CE Property Ltd 10478574
367 Bitterne Road, Bitterne Precinct, Southampton SO18 5RR
Chase & Co UK
Chase & Co UK Ltd 10231160
86-90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE
Chebar Homes Ltd
Chebar Homes Ltd 11126242
Chebar House, 146 Deptford High Street, London SE8 3PQ
Chew Valley Estates
Chew Valley Estates N/A
3a High Street, Winford, Bristol, BS40 8EH
Citi Places Management
Citi Places Management Ltd 9187569
5 Indescon Square, London E14 9DQ
CityWest Estate Agents
CityWest.co.uk Limited 10847237
343 Bath Road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 3DH
Concept lettings and sales
Concept Lettings Ltd 7487996
104 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4DG
Davis & Co Ltd
Ronald Davis & Co Ltd 7409127
80 Westow Hill, Crystal Palace, London, SE19 1SB
Delta Homes London Ltd 9630225
618 Green Lane, Goodmayes, Ilford IG3 9SE
DMF Sales & Lettings
DMF Inventories Ltd 7159027
21 Shenley Pavilions, Chalkdell Drive, Milton Keynes MK5 6LB
Docklands Real Estates Ltd
Docklands Real Estates Limited 4480125
3 Brooks Parade, Green Lane, Ilford, Essex IG3 9RT
Elite Properties Essex Ltd 8413195
11 Orsett Road, Grays, Essex RM17 5DD
Ewemove Slough Limited (formerly)
Saville Park Ltd 10887644
268 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 4DX
Flat Sharing Ltd 11198816
220 Bow Common Lane, London E3 4HH
Foremost Lettings Ltd 9082517
SU46 Priory Meadow, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1PH
Global Property Solutions
G P S (UK) Ltd 10213484
24/25 The Shard, London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG
HAB and KAL Properties
HAB&KAL Properties Ltd 7038409
2 Station Parade, Queensbury, Edgware, Middlesex HA8 5NP
Camborne Properties Limited 8950708
New London House, 6 London Street, London EC3R 7LP
Old Moulsham Estates Limited 8378588
88 Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0JF
House Sales and Lettings
House SL Ltd 10093471
Baltimore Street, Liverpool L19HZ
JBE London Limited 8205596
27 Cambridge Park, London E11 2PU
Jennings & Kent
Jennings & Kent Limited 2903312
255 Bexley Road, Erith, Kent DA8 3EX
Joseph Properties Ltd 9616489
7 Brennand Street, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 1SU
Kingsman Property Limited 9822551
Recovery House 15-17 Roebuck Road, Ilford, Essex IG6 3TU
Lang and Ward
Lang and Ward Limited 9889594
63 Amsterdam Road, Canary Wharf, London E14 3UU
Lawrence Property Consultants
LawrenceProperty Consultants Ltd 7720939
51 Winsford Avenue, Allesley Park, Coventry CV5 9JG
Leftmove Estate Agents
Leftmove Estate Agents Holdings Limited 10956894
2 Market Square, Kirkham, Preston, Lancashire PR4 2SD
Lettings Solutions Limited
Lettings Solutions Limited 6756503
The Old Fire Station, Guithavon Street, Witham, Essex CM8 1BJ
LPC Lettings Limited 7092787
Gainsborough House, 337 Smithdown Road, Wavertree, Liverpool L15 3JJ
Madox Estates Ltd 8247470
199 North End Road, West Kensington, London
Marilla Garland Property Management Ltd
Marilla Garland Property Management Limited 6284432
The Yard, Church Road, Carlton, Cambridgeshire CB8 9JZ
Marques Residential Limited
Marques Residential Limited 8284925
The Design Chapel, Cemetery Road, Southampton, Hampshire SO15 7NN
JD Moss Limited 8123657
255 Broadwater Crescent, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG2 8ET
Clapham Lettings Ltd 8959860
7 Clapham Common Southside, London SW4 7AA
September 2016 (up to July 2019)
Next Move Yorkshire Limited 10026691
101 Newland Avenue, Hull, East Yorkshire HU5 2AA
Oscar Jones Residential
OJ Residentials Ltd 9939796
15 The Quarterdeck,West Ferry Road, London E14 8SH
Pinkmove Lettings Limited
Pinkmove Lettings Newport Limited 10460228
13 Conway Road, Newport, Gwent, NP19 8PA
Plush Estate Agency
PLS Lettings Limited 9477121
Bres House, Bres Road, Llanelli, Wales SA15 1UA
PM Premier Ltd
PM Premier Limited 9389847
238 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff CF14 3ND
Premier Moves Management Ltd 8663970
352 -365 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BY
Premier Property Management
Premier Property Management N/A
Meridian House, Heron Way, Newham, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2XN
Property 24/7 Limited 6954830
14 Tiller Road, London, E14 8PX
Property Solutions GB North Ltd
Property Solutions GB 6977441
8B Bury Old Road, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 9JN
Property Solutions Wales
The Property Dragon 8380276
73 Hannah Street, Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taff, CF39 9PY (may no longer be there)
Property Vibe Ltd 7494031
114 Third Avenue, Millbrook, Southampton, Hampshire SO15 0LD
Regents Estate Agents Limited
Regents Estate Agents Limited 8998996
Suite 22, Enterprise House, Ocean Village, Southampton SO14 3XB
Sam Allan Estates
Sam Allan Estates Ltd 7009147
25 Sanderson Road, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 1NS
Samuel Makepeace Bespoke Estate Agents
SSM2 Limited (formerly Samuel Makepeace Limited) 9793590
3 MIllrise Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST2 7BN
Secret Property Wara Ltd 9817908
8 Sunderland Street, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX1 5AF
Seekers Estate Agents
Seekers Estate Agents N/A
22 High Street, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham B72 1UX
Shields & Co
Shields & Co UK Limited 6268168
72 Lenton Boulevard, Lenton, Nottinghamshire NG7 2EN
Sun Properties Leicester
Sun Properties Leicester N/A
92B Halkin Street, Leicester, LE4 6JW
Target Estates Limited 5413774
Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX
TeesSurveyors Lettings Limited
TeesSurveyors Estate Agents Limited 7311137
44 Borough Road, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS1 5DW
The Flat Agency & Michael Browns Ltd
The Flat Agency & Michael Browns Ltd 6858103
114 Third Avenue, Millbrook, Southampton, Hampshire SO15 0LD
The Lettings Shop Limited
The Lettings Shop Limited 7449608
452 High Street, West Bromwich, West Midlands B70 9LD
The London Landlord
The London Landlord Limited 9071375
2 Woodberry Grove, Finchley, London N12 0DR
The Olive Branch
The Olive Branch Estate Limited 9637037
The Olive House, 2 Waterloo Road, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 2SN
ELS Auctions Limited 7367874
Unit C, Westwood Industrial Estate, Arkwright Street, Oldham, OL9 9LZ
TM Estates Ltd
Thamesmead Lettings & Management Limited 6673360
Royal Oak Offices, 1a Northumberland Close, North Heath, Kent DA8 3HH
Total Property Management
Manage UK Ltd 4993969
251 Staines Road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 3JJ
Uxbridge Estate Agents & Secured Guaranteed Rent
Uxbridge Estate Agents Ltd 7247007
5b Windsor Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1AB
Wilkins Residential N/A
80 Goldstone Villas, Hove, East Sussex BN3 3RU
William Huxley Limited 10867185
452 Roman Road, London E3 5LU
Wincon Limited 8693735
Unit 18-19 (2nd Floor), 58 Marsh Wall, London E14 9TP
As a letting agent you should:
Comply with consumer protection law when dealing with landlord clients (unless it is clear that they are acting in the course of their business).
Make sure that any advertising and marketing of your services to landlords is clear, accurate and not misleading.
Provide full information about your fees
We consider you are more likely to ensure compliance with this if you set this information out in a clear tariff of charges that:
Ensure the terms of any contract that you use are clear:
Ensure you comply with your legal duties towards landlords as their agent:
We think that, in general, letting agents should treat their landlord clients as consumers except where it is clear that all those they are dealing with, are acting in the course of business.
However, agents should also bear in mind that even when dealing solely with professional landlords that do not need to be treated as consumers, the BPRs, and many provisions of UCTA and SGSA are still applicable.
In our view, the practical effect of legislation such as the BPRs and UCTA is to provide businesses with a comparable level of protection to that enjoyed by consumers:
Letting agents also owe landlords (their principals) duties under the law of agency. These include:
A duty to comply with lawful instructions.
A duty of care and skill.
A duty of loyalty.
A duty not to sub-contract.
Although you may be entitled to contract out of these duties in some circumstances and if your landlord client agrees, you will need to ensure that any exclusions would be neither unreasonable under UCTA nor (unless it is clear your landlord client is a business) unfair under the UTCCRs.
In all circumstances, if you want to be sure that any terms you want to use to contract out of these duties will be legally effective, you will need to:
You should ensure that any information that you provide when marketing your services, in whatever form (including flyers, websites, newspaper advertisements, and verbal discussion), is:
You should also not mislead by omission whether dealing with:
The purpose of these requirements is to make sure prospective client landlords:
For example, you should not give a misleading impression regarding the size of your business, the numbers of properties on your books or the amount of rent you think you will be able to obtain for a property.
You should make sure that any comparisons you make with competitors, for example:
You should ensure that details are accurate about:
Where you are a member of a redress scheme, you should identify which one.
Where you are a member of a professional body, redress scheme or code, you should ensure you comply with its rules.
Failure to do so could result in you committing a banned practice, that is, claiming that you are approved by a body but failing to comply with the terms of that approval.
Your pre-contract information should provide a summary of the key features of your service.
You should not:
Material information about your services is likely to include:
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law when advertising to prospective landlord clients
It may be a misleading action
It may be a misleading omission
To remove the risk of breaching consumer and other law, you should provide information about your fees and charges that is
so that potential landlord clients can assess how much it is going to cost them to use your services.
It is likely to be misleading to provide information about some charges and not others, or only to reveal them gradually. All non-optional fees and charges should be set out up front.
Your description of your services should fairly reflect the way you charge for them.
For example, it may be misleading to state that you charge a specific percentage (eg 11%) for a comprehensive management service, when in fact you make extra charges for particular aspects of this service.
It may also be misleading to describe your services as ‘let only’ or similar, if in fact you have terms providing for renewal commission to be paid should the tenant remain in occupation at the end of the fixed period of the tenancy agreement.
Fees that are genuinely variable or optional should be clearly set out and brought to the attention of a potential landlord client early on, and not merely included in the small print of the contract.
For example, we consider you are more likely to comply with the law if you provide, at the outset, a summary of fees and charges in a single tariff that landlords can easily access.
Where fees and charges are variable, or optional, such a tariff should outline the factors affecting the calculation of the charges involved. It will aid clarity if you provide worked examples of calculations of this kind.
Advertising that includes any fee information should:
Where a charge is likely to be unexpected, or to come as a surprise to a potential landlord client, you should highlight the details individually.
We would consider renewal commission to be an example of a charge that should, in particular, be drawn to the attention of a client in this way. (See below for more information on renewal and sales commission).
Further examples of charges that we consider should be given particular prominence in pre-contract information, as well as in the contract, include (but are not limited to):
You should also make it clear if you will only provide certain services on payment of an additional fee.
This might include things such as
Because your clients are likely to include consumers and possibly businesses that will not be able to reclaim Value Added Tax (VAT), we consider that any charges you advertise should be inclusive of VAT (including charges that are expressed as a percentage, for example those expressed as a percentage of rent).
This should not prevent agents from providing landlords with a breakdown of the VAT amount if requested.
The CPRs require that an invitation to purchase should display the price inclusive of taxes. Where the price is stated to be a percentage of a future fee, we consider that the percentage stated should include any additional tax, and the resulting percentage may reasonably be calculated in advance.
Further, we consider that a VAT exclusive percentage is more likely to mislead consumers about how much they will actually have to pay, and it is therefore less meaningful for them. There is a risk that this would constitute a misleading action under the CPRs.
You should fully disclose to your potential landlord client all charges that you will, or may, impose on prospective tenants, for example for carrying out pre-tenancy checks.
This is important information since the level of any charges you ask tenants to pay you, may have an impact on the number of tenants who may be willing to rent the landlord’s property, and so affect a landlord’s transactional decision whether to use your services.
In some cases, where a cost is shared between the landlord and tenant, it is important that each party knows what the other is paying, in order that each can assess whether the portion they are being asked to pay is reasonable.
Examples of potential breaches of consumer law
It may be a misleading action:
It may be a misleading omission:
In order to comply with the requirements of the UTCCRs in your contracts with landlord clients, you should:
We consider that renewal commissions and sale commissions deserve particular mention because they may surprise potential clients and because they have already been scrutinised by the courts under the UTCCRs. In OFT v Foxtons Limited the High Court analysed the fairness of certain commission terms used in a lettings agreement. In light of this judgment, the CMA considers the following terms, in particular, are likely to be found to be unfair. As such they would not bind consumers even if they had signed a contract agreeing to be bound by them, and therefore we consider they should not be used or relied upon in contracts with consumer landlords:
In addition, terms which require a landlord to pay ‘renewal commission’ to an agent:
attract a significant risk of being found to be unfair as in the Foxtons ruling, which has also been followed in the County Courts. Agents who wish to charge renewal commission may therefore wish to seek legal advice to satisfy themselves that their commissions are structured and presented in a fair and transparent way.
Where an agent provides a tenant finding service only, and does not provide any ongoing property management or other services after the introduction of a tenant, we consider that it would be a surprising contractual term to require the landlord to pay commission for any events that take place after a tenant has been introduced.
We consider that this would be an unexpected term because it would not be clear what service the agent provided for this additional fee. Moreover, a term of this kind could give rise to a situation where a landlord would become liable to pay commission to two agents in respect of the same event, for instance where he has instructed a different agent to manage the property.
Any contractual provision requiring payment of renewal commission, must, as a basic requirement (as was emphasised by the High Court in the Foxtons case), be transparent and clearly brought to the attention of the consumer. If you wish to charge a renewal commission you should therefore, as early as possible, actively draw to your client’s attention the following:
We consider you may be more likely to be able to show that a renewal commission term is fair if you have obtained the landlord’s specific agreement to such a term and you have first given him the option not to pay it. For example, it will be more likely to be fair if the landlord is given the option to pay a lower initial fee, in exchange for agreeing to the obligation to pay a further commission if the tenancy is renewed.
You are also more likely to be able to demonstrate fairness if your commissions are structured in a balanced way. For example, if your justification for taking a renewal commission is the benefit that you have obtained for the landlord by securing the income stream of the tenant’s continued rent, the contractual terms should also provide the landlord with a pro-rata refund of commission if the tenant defaults on the rent, or leaves the property, before the end of any period over which the commission is calculated (including any initial minimum period).
Additionally, a renewal commission term may be more likely to be fair if the agent’s entitlement to commission decreases over time and ceases within a reasonable period of time (unless it is demonstrably linked to the amount of work undertaken by the agent and that work does not diminish).
If a renewal commission is payable only when you are instructed to carry out work, it is more likely to be considered fair.
We consider that renewal commission terms are likely to be unfair, and therefore should be avoided, if they require landlords to pay commission fees in circumstances where they have terminated the agent’s contract for good reason (for example where the agent has breached the contract or has not carried out services with reasonable care and skill).
Further, a failure to inform a landlord at the outset about the existence of renewal commission terms, including the amount and the circumstances in which they will have to be paid may be a misleading omission.
It may also be a misleading omission to fail to provide a reminder, in the period leading up to the renewal when the landlord is deciding whether to keep the tenant or change agent, that renewal commission will be payable.
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law in relation to contracts:
This chapter aims to help you to comply with consumer law when you are:
You should ensure that:
You should have appropriate processes in place to gather and verify all the information that potential tenants will need in order to decide whether a property that you market is suitable for them. You should aim to collect all of the information that you will need to include in advertising and property particulars, and also any information that the average prospective tenant would need to be provided with during the letting process
If you are an agent, this is likely to require ensuring that you obtain sufficient information from the landlord, making further enquiries if information is incomplete or appears inaccurate, and satisfying yourself that the property is properly marketable.
In some circumstances you may need to ask the landlord to carry out further work before you market the property. For example, if you are marketing a property with gas appliances, we consider that the property’s compliance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 is likely to be material information.
In order to comply with the CPRs, you should check that the landlord has complied with his obligations (such as obtaining a gas safety certificate), and if not, advise him of the steps he must take before the tenancy agreement is finalised.
Because you are responsible for the information you publish, you should not publish information that you know is, or suspect may be, inaccurate. If you provide inaccurate or misleading information about the property, you may have difficulty showing that you acted with professional diligence if you did not inspect the property for yourself.
You should take particular care to verify any attractive feature that you intend to rely upon to advertise the property, for example, parking rights, surrounding amenities and views.
All information provided to potential residential tenants should be clear, accurate, and not misleading, and should not omit material information.
The purpose of the legal requirements applicable here is to enable consumers to make informed and therefore efficient transactional decisions about the property and any other product on offer.
For example this could include whether:
Information that you provide is likely to have an impact on consumers’ decision making, so you should make sure it is clear.
For example if you use phrases such as ‘fully furnished’, ‘unfurnished’ or ‘partly furnished’, you should explain clearly what you mean by this from the outset in terms of what principal fixtures and/or fittings may be provided, and indicate that a detailed list will be included in the inventory.
In the documentation you give to prospective tenants, make sure all material information is clear and prominent and draw this to the tenant’s attention. In general we consider that material information is likely to include:
Material information should be provided in all circumstances, whether or not the prospective tenant requests it, and it should be presented accurately from the outset.
Where tenants do have questions, you should of course answer them accurately and as fully as possible. This may mean asking someone for further information (for example the landlord if you are the agent).
Be open about any gaps in your knowledge.
Restrictions on space may mean that it is appropriate for more details to be given in the property particulars, or through the use of web links. However, web links should not be used in a way that would tend to obscure information that consumers need to know when looking at an advert.
While the property is being advertised for let, you should keep particulars and other marketing materials up-to-date, periodically checking or re-checking the details to make sure you have accurate information and do not mislead prospective tenants.
If you discover at any point during the marketing of a property to let that information is incorrect, you should act promptly to correct it. This includes information being displayed by others on your behalf, (for example, displayed on property portals).
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law when providing information in advertisements and property particulars to tenants
It may be a misleading action
It may be a misleading omission or a banned practice
It may be a banned practice
Information about charges provided in advertising and other promotional material should be:
It may be misleading:
Rent and other charges should be presented inclusive of VAT, including where the charge is a percentage of something else.
We consider that the existence and size of fees of any description is likely to have an impact on the average consumer’s decision making, and we set out some more detailed guidance on making different types of fees transparent below.
Fees should be accurately described, and clear information should be given about the nature and extent of the service being provided in return. This will help consumers to form a view on the reasonableness of the fees and to decide whether or not they wish to proceed on that basis.
For example, you might charge a substantial fee (several hundred pounds) for drawing up a tenancy agreement.
Landlords and agents should not attempt to impose charges on a tenant or prospective tenant unless they are set out clearly in a contract the tenant has already agreed to, and the terms being relied on are fair.
Some types of fees are prohibited by housing-specific legislation.
Where an advert provides details of the property and any other cost information (such as rent), all other non-optional fees and charges should be included there as well. You should include non-optional fees and charges, whether or not they can be calculated in advance.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), in a ruling that we consider reflects the legal position under the CPRs, has held that non-optional fees relating to consumers taking on a tenancy, need to be included in online adverts and there is also Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) guidance on this.50 Following the ASA ruling, the CAP provided detailed guidance to lettings agents, advising them of the new requirements for residential lettings agents when advertising on their websites and placing advertisements on property portals and in other media.
Where you are advertising specific properties along with the rental costs, the CAP guidance advises that non-optional fees that can be calculated in advance (for example, a fixed administrative fee) must be included with the quoted asking rent (for example £1500pcm + £150 admin fee per tenant).
If the non-optional fee cannot be calculated in advance, the CAP guidance explains that relevant advertisements must:
Although the ASA ruling deals with fees relating to taking on a tenancy, the CAP detailed guidance for lettings agents extends beyond this and includes as material information, other financial information a consumer would need in order to make informed decisions, such as refundable deposits.
Both the ASA ruling and the CAP guidance emphasise the importance of making sure you set out all the fees a tenant must pay clearly and up front and you should familiarise yourself, and comply, with this guidance.
Non-optional fees should always be presented up front and made clear. If a landlord or agent charges tenants for any services that do not apply to all tenants but are non-optional for tenants to which they apply (for example a guarantor’s fee), they should also be considered non-optional .
Where you are promoting specific properties along with details of the rental cost, we consider it is likely to be a misleading omission for you to fail to include in your marketing materials, advertisements or other promotional literature, information such as:
Fees that vary depending on the tenant’s circumstances and optional fees (namely those which any consumer could genuinely choose to pay or not to pay) should be presented up front and made clear, unless there are genuine restrictions on space. If there are such restrictions, you should clearly set out the fact there is a fee in addition to the rental figure, what the fee is for, and provide information that will make it easy for the prospective tenant to find out the detail and work out how the fee is calculated.
For example, in online advertising, you could do this by providing a prominent ‘click through’ to a tariff of all fees and charges, or in the case of off line advertising, by making the tariff available in any of your offices that tenants might visit. We consider that you are more likely to comply with the law if this tariff is easy to find and clearly set out. You might, for example, consider grouping charges according to how much the tenant has to pay to move in, how much it will cost them per month, and how much it will be likely to cost them to move out at the end of the tenancy.
There may be some situations where a charge could in theory be optional or variable, but in practice, because of its nature, it will in fact be paid by the vast majority of tenants at a particular rate. In such a case you should consider treating these as non-optional and foreseeable, in order to avoid the risk of misleading consumers. Future contingent charges
Some charges will be harder to predict because you may not know immediately whether a particular tenant will have to pay them. This is because the charge relates to costs you incur as a result of some future conduct on the part of the tenant and these costs may fall due a long time in the future. Where this is the case, you should make this clear, and indicate what the fee is likely to be, and how it will be calculated.
Charges the tenant may become liable to pay after they have moved into a property (such as charges to compensate the landlord for damage to the property, for consents, or to discharge any other duty the tenant owes under the tenancy agreement) need not be set out in advertising. However we consider that all such fees do need to be provided for in the tenancy agreement (which the tenant should be given the opportunity to read in good time before being asked to sign). This type of charge can be assessed for fairness under the UTCCRs and you should ensure that they are set at a reasonable level to avoid a risk they are found to be unfair or a penalty and therefore not applicable. As a general rule a fee is more likely to be found to be fair if it simply covers a disbursement that you incur, and more likely to be found to be unfair if it is surprisingly high.
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law when providing tenants with information about the costs of renting a property
It may be a misleading action:
It may be a misleading omission:
It may be both a misleading action and a misleading omission:
This chapter aims to help you to comply with consumer law when you are:
Agents will usually be acting for the landlord and not the tenant. It is important in these circumstances
As a lettings professional, you are required to comply with your consumer law duties where applicable:
You should make sure prospective tenants are treated fairly and kept properly informed:
Prospective tenants should be given clear information about what the process will involve (including any pre-tenancy checks) as soon as they have expressed an interest in renting a particular property. This should be made available before any viewing is arranged.
In most situations, we consider that a prospective tenant will wish to view a property before deciding whether to rent it.
Where a prospective tenant does view the property:
There may be some circumstances where this does not happen:
It is important you make clear to prospective tenants what principal fixtures and fittings are included with the letting. For example, it could be a misleading omission if you fail to mention that white goods in situ at the time of viewing a property will not be included as part of the agreement.
It could be a misleading omission not to make the prospective tenant aware of key terms of the tenancy, or important restrictions on the use of the property, or to make information about costs or fees they will be asked to pay available only after the viewing has taken place.
The information that agents give to tenants and landlords about pre-tenancy checks should be clear, accurate and not misleading. Material information should not be omitted.
Tenants should be given clear information about what any pre-tenancy check involves as soon as they have expressed an interest in renting a particular property.
The material information a prospective tenant is likely to need includes:
This information should be given before the tenant is asked to pay any fees, or a holding deposit (including a refundable deposit), and should be made available before any viewing is arranged.
If a prospective tenant does not pass the pre-tenancy check, or must take any additional steps in order to qualify for the property, you should inform them of the reasons. It may be a misleading omission if you do not provide this information as the person may need it to help them decide whether to provide additional information to try and secure the property.
It is important to bear in mind that information about prospective tenants is personal data, and so there are rights and obligations around its collection and use.
If you are an agent, you should describe accurately to the landlord how comprehensive the check will be and if there are any restrictions on passing on information you find out (for example, because of data protection law).
Where a guarantor is required, landlords and agents should provide the potential guarantor and the prospective tenant with clear, accurate and full information that is not misleading about what this involves. You should not omit material information.
Material information the tenant and guarantor need is, in our view, likely to include:
The terms governing any guarantor agreement should be fair. Examples of potentially unfair terms include:
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law relating to pre-tenancy checks and guarantor requirements
It may be a misleading action
It may be a misleading omission
It is unlawful to demand a fee for undertaking a pre-tenancy check in Scotland and doing so is also likely to amount to a misleading action under the CPRs because it cannot be charged.
Information about pre-tenancy payments should be clear, accurate and not misleading.
The purpose of any pre-tenancy payment should be made clear to the prospective tenant.
The tenant should be given all of the material information that he needs to make informed transactional decisions, including decisions about whether to pay any pre-tenancy payment, and also whether in the circumstances he wants to pursue renting the property. Material information is likely to include:
The terms on which a pre-tenancy payment or holding deposit is taken should be fair.
The following are examples of the types of circumstances in which we consider that holding deposits or pre-tenancy payments should, in principle, be refundable:
A landlord or agent’s practices should not place the prospective tenant under undue pressure to pay a deposit or any other pre-tenancy payment. For example it could be an aggressive practice to require a deposit from a prospective tenant before they have been given the opportunity to inspect the property or the tenancy agreement.
Landlords and their agents should also take care to treat tenants fairly in situations where the deposit is taken a long time before the tenancy is due to commence.
Further example of potential breaches of consumer law relating to pre-tenancy payments or holding deposits
It may be a misleading action:
It may be an aggressive practice:
It may be unfair:
In our view, if you are a landlord or agent presenting a tenancy agreement to a prospective tenant you should:
You should not assume that consumer law does not apply where a term is ‘individually negotiated’. This is only true of certain elements of the law on unfair contract terms, and in any case only applies where there is an actual negotiation (rather than the tenant being presented with a choice between alternative standard clauses). We consider it most likely to apply only where a term is inserted at the tenant’s specific request.
Further examples of potential consumer protection breaches relating to fairness of the tenancy agreement
Examples of potentially unfair terms include:
Additionally, it may be a misleading omission to fail to inform prospective tenants of any important obligations under the tenancy agreement, for example, a requirement to undertake maintenance of common areas (for example a garden in shared student accommodation).
This chapter aims to help you comply with consumer law when you are:
The information you give to tenants about the condition of the property when they move in should be accurate, clear and not misleading.
You must provide a tenant with all the material information they need about a property (including information required under housing-specific law), so they can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the letting.
You should ensure that in the time between the tenant agreeing to take a tenancy, and actually moving in, they are kept properly informed. If material information that was accurate and given in good faith at the time it was given ceases to be true at a later date, it must be corrected if it remains material information for the tenant at that point.
You should check in particular that:
It may be a misleading action if in the course of negotiations about the tenancy, the landlord promises to provide certain pieces of furniture, but then fails to do so.
It may be a misleading omission not to keep a tenant properly informed about progress and appraised of risks that the agreed moving in date would change.
Care should be taken not to mislead tenants about their contractual or other legal rights in the event of any failure, or delay, in making the property available, or carrying out agreed work to the property prior to them moving in.
Where a tenancy agreement has been signed and arranged, it could be an aggressive practice to refuse to let a tenant enter the rental property unless they:
Certain information, for instance about the condition of the gas and electrical appliances, is required to be given to tenants by housing-specific law.
In Scotland there has been a legal requirement since 1 May 2013, on landlords who provide assured or short assured tenancies, to provide new tenants with a tenant information pack by the tenancy start date.
Further examples of potential infringements of consumer law
It may be a misleading action if in the course of negotiations about the tenancy, the landlord promises to provide certain pieces of furniture, but then fails to do so.
It may be a misleading omission not to keep a tenant properly informed about progress and appraised of risks that the agreed moving in date would change.
Landlords and agents should make sure tenants have the material information they need so they can make informed decisions about energy suppliers. This is likely to include information such as:
If tenants are required to seek the landlord’s consent, landlords should not unreasonably withhold or delay their consent and any terms of an agreement between landlords and letting agents should not have the effect of preventing or unreasonably delaying the landlord’s consent.
You should make sure that if you take an inventory of the property, it is carried out and recorded accurately. Providing the tenant with an incorrect inventory could be a misleading action. One way to mitigate this would be to give the tenant sufficient opportunity to review the inventory, challenge any points of disagreement, and agree a final version. The tenant should be given a copy, together with other important information such as the gas and electricity meter readings, and contact details for the landlord and their agent
A tenant is entitled to expect the landlord or their agent to prepare any inventory with reasonable care and skill so that it accurately reflects both the condition of the property and its contents.
Material information the tenant needs will include information as to who to contact if there is a need to discuss the property and (or) the tenancy agreement. The tenant should be given clear information about the circumstances in which they should contact the agent or landlord, and have sufficient information to get in touch with them. For example, the tenant will need to know who he should contact if the boiler stops working, if repairs to the property are needed and who he should contact to give notice. Contact information needs to be kept updated and any changes notified to the tenant.
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law
In many cases, landlords may wish to take a security deposit to protect themselves in relation to risks such as breakages and unpaid rent. If a security deposit is taken, it must be protected in accordance with statutory requirements and registered with a statutory scheme. Landlords and their agents must comply with the rules of the scheme.
Tenants should be given full, clear and accurate material information about any requirement to provide a security deposit. We consider that material information is likely to include:
It may be a breach of professional diligence to fail to register a deposit taken from a tenant with an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
It may be a misleading omission not to tell the tenant that their deposit is not (as it is legally required to be) protected, and that the effect of this is that the tenant can recover the deposit, with compensation, through the courts.
It may be a misleading action to inform the tenant that their deposit is protected, when you know it is not or you have not checked.
It may be a misleading action for an agent to tell a landlord they have protected the deposit, if in fact they have not. If you mislead landlords about whether or not you would protect deposits, you may also breach the BPRs.
Tenants should not be given any misleading information about their rights in relation to repayment of security deposits. If a deposit is not properly protected, the tenant should be informed of this as soon as possible.
Landlords will usually have primary responsibility for protecting (in accordance with the statutory requirements) any security deposit they take. Letting agents cannot be considered to be meeting any duty they may have to advise their landlord clients if they fail to take reasonable steps to ensure that the landlord understands his obligations in relation to this, and agree with the landlord how the deposit will be protected to meet the statutory requirements. An agent who has agreed to be responsible for handling the deposit, should ensure the deposit is properly protected. An agent who has agreed to take the deposit from the tenant, but passes it to the landlord in order that he should arrange for it to be protected, should inform the tenant that they have done this.
This is an area where there have been legislative and case law developments in recent years and keeping up to date with this type of information is likely to help landlords and their agents comply with the law.
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law in relation to the security deposit
This chapter aims to help you to comply with consumer law when you are:
In carrying out services in order to fulfil their duties to tenants under a tenancy agreement, landlords and their agents need to have regard to the SGSA and in Scotland, to the common law. These require services to be carried out with reasonable care and skill and within a reasonable time (and where relevant, for reasonable remuneration).
In addition, landlords and their agents need to take care that they do not seek to enforce terms of the tenancy agreement that are unfair, that they do not mislead tenants about their rights or obligations and that they ensure the tenant is given all the material information they need to make informed transactional decisions.
Tenants should not be required to accept additional services from landlords or their agents, for which they must pay, unless this is provided for in the tenancy agreement and is fair.
There will be instances when, as a landlord or their agent, you will need to be able to access a property that is being let, for example to undertake an inspection/check, carry out maintenance or repairs, or to show prospective tenants or purchasers around the property.
If you are a landlord undertaking repairs on the property, these should be undertaken within a reasonable period of time and with reasonable care and skill.
Disputes sometimes arise about repair or replacement of furniture that has been supplied with the property.
In some situations the tenant will be responsible under the tenancy agreement to carry out repairs. You should inform them what these circumstances are as it will be material information that they need to know.
You should deal professionally with tenants who are in arrears or otherwise in breach of the terms of their tenancy agreement, to avoid any risk of behaviour that may constitute a breach of the CPRs.
It could be a misleading action if you tell a tenant, who is in arrears (or give them the impression), they may face immediate eviction if they do not pay at once, without also making clear that a court order would be required to evict them.
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law when dealing with tenants
In general the management contract will set out the agent’s duties to the landlord. However agents will also be well-advised to remember their duties under the law of agency, and be aware that terms may be implied into their contracts. If an agent engages in a practice of breaching the terms of his contracts with adverse consequences for the interests of consumers he may face enforcement action under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act.
If you are an agent acting for a landlord, terms are implied into your contract with the landlord by statute (except in Scotland, where common law applies) that you will carry out your services:
You should consider carefully before seeking (via terms in your management contract) to contract out of (or qualify) these implied duties. Doing this is subject to legal constraints under UCTA and where a landlord client could be considered a consumer is liable to be unfair and unenforceable under the UTCCRs.
You should bear these implied terms in mind when considering how you provide your service to the landlord including, for example:
Where as an agent you have agreed to carry out repairs on the landlord’s behalf, your contractual relationship with him means that these should be done within a reasonable time. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances including the urgency of the problem and the complexity of the work, and if in doubt you should seek legal advice.
Where the landlord has a duty to the tenant to carry out repairs, and you are contracted to carry out this duty as his agent, you should carry out the landlord’s duties with reasonable care and skill as well.
In circumstances where letting agents use third parties (such as a builder contracted to undertake repairs) to carry out duties that are the agent’s responsibility under his contract with the landlord, the agent should act in the landlord’s best interests and inform the landlord of any commissions they receive. We consider that:
is likely to be material information. Any failure to share this information with the landlord may be a misleading omission.
Agents must not charge landlords for work that isn’t actually carried out, or claim that work is necessary when it is not.
If you are a letting agent, you should take proper care of any rent you collect for the landlord, or any money you retain to cover incidental expenses.
You should pay the rent you have collected to the landlord promptly and as agreed in the contract, so you can demonstrate that you are passing this on in reasonable time.
In circumstances where the tenant falls into arrears you should keep the landlord informed about the arrears, and take appropriate steps to secure rent for landlords, to show you are carrying out your services with reasonable care and skill. We consider that it may be a misleading omission not to inform the landlord that the tenant is in arrears, since information about the arrears is likely to be material information the landlord would need to know in order to decide whether to take steps, such as court proceedings, to recover the rent or repossess the property.
In some situations, for example where the tenant has to ask for permission to do something under the tenancy agreement (such as keep a pet in the property), it may be appropriate for agents to deal with a tenant’s application for permission and collect a charge for doing this if it is provided for in the tenancy agreement, and if the amount charged is reasonable. The agent should inform the landlord and pass on promptly to the landlord, any money paid where this is owed to the landlord.
The SGSA requires that all other services an agent provides to a landlord should be carried out with reasonable care and skill and in a timely way.
For example agents should:
This chapter aims to help you to comply with consumer law when you are:
When you give notice to a tenant, you must not mislead them about their rights in law, or as provided for in the tenancy agreement. For example:
When a tenant gives notice:
In our view, a court might find that the professional diligence requirements of the CPRs mean you should point out to the tenant that they have given notice incorrectly and remind them where to look (for example the tenancy agreement) to identify how to give notice correctly.
Alternatively, the court might find that where you know the tenant has given notice incorrectly, your knowledge of their error and the fact the notice they have given is ineffective, constitute material information. Failure to provide that information to the tenant at the appropriate time could therefore be a misleading omission.
Any fees for renewing or exiting a tenancy agreement should have a clear contractual basis and should have been drawn to the tenant’s attention before he committed to the tenancy. For example, charges for checking the inventory or for cleaning should have been brought to the tenant’s attention at the pre-contractual stage.
Introducing a new charge at this stage may be both a misleading action and an aggressive practice under the CPRs if it gives the tenant the impression that he cannot leave the property, or receive his security deposit back, unless he contracts to pay a further sum.
Where a tenant wishes to remain in the property, he should not be charged any additional fee for holding over under a statutory periodic tenancy, or given the impression that he is obliged to agree to a new fixed term agreement.
It may be a misleading action and an unfair term to seek to charge a tenant to renew a tenancy where this fee was not set out in the original tenancy agreement and brought to potential tenants’ attention in the pre-tenancy advertising and other materials.
It may also be an aggressive practice to seek to introduce a charge to renew a tenancy agreement at this stage, as doing so may take advantage of the tenant’s limited security of tenure – they effectively have no choice about whether to pay the renewal fee if the alternative is to be given a Notice Requiring Possession.
If the tenancy agreement is not renewed, and the tenant moves out, the ‘check out’ process, including dealing with the security deposit, should be transparent and fair. You should not attempt to rely on terms that are unfair.
Information given to tenants, and to the tenancy deposit schemes, about proposed deductions from the tenant’s deposit, should be accurate, clear and not misleading.
If you are a landlord or agent, and consider that some of the security deposit should be withheld, exaggerating the sums necessary, or the scale of work required, to deal with damage caused or cleaning required could be a misleading action.
Where the security deposit has not been properly protected you should not seek to make any deductions at all, but should return it immediately to the tenant. It is likely to be a misleading action if you attempt to deduct any sums without also having informed the tenant, at the outset of the tenancy agreement, that the deposit is not protected, that he has legal rights to secure a court order to recover the deposit and also, potentially, to be awarded compensation.
Further examples of potential breaches of consumer law on renewal/termination of the tenancy
Examples of terms that may be unfair, and which we consider should not be relied on at the renewal stage, include those which:
This guidance focuses on Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST), or short assured tenancies in Scotland. It does not cover long leaseholds, block management or property sales. It sets out the views of the CMA, but is not a substitute for the law itself. Lettings professionals should seek their own independent legal advice.
This guidance relates to the following laws (NEEDS UPDATING!!)
It also refers to other laws and duties that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Trading standards services (TSS) can enforce that are likely to be relevant to lettings professionals.
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The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team is a collective brand for Powys County Council and Bristol City Council. See: ntselat.uk
The team has arranged for the publication of this directory of Property Agents registered for:
The data in this directory is provided by the organisations listed and can be updated by them as frequently as required - preferably daily. The date and time of the most recent verification for each business is displayed beside the entry for that business. It is important to note that changes in registration status of individual businesses will occur between these updates and any questions or formal checks of current registration should be addressed to the relevant organisation by following the links on the page for each agent.
This is a publicly available register, but the team is not responsible for, nor does it endorse or make any representations regarding any use made of the data on the register by third parties.
This service is operated for NTSELAT by Referenceline Ltd.
Data protection registration
Referenceline Ltd is a limited company No. 3341732 registered in England at 3 Huron Drive, Liphook, GU30 7TY. We are committed to protecting the privacy of individuals, including consumers, customers and employees. We are registered with the Data Protection Registrar: Z7698138.
We do not sell, trade or rent personal information such as individuals' name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. If you have any concerns, please email our Data Protection Officer
We may use the following types of cookie:
If you want to delete any cookies, the help section in your browser should provide instructions on how to do so on your computer, but some functions on our site(s) may be affected or not work at all.
This policy applies to users of our website(s) and it explains how we use your personal data and your related rights. We may change this policy from time to time and if we make significant changes, we will make that clear on our websites, so that you are able to review the changes before you continue to use our services.
Business Contact Details
The publication of contact details including trading names, postal addresses, email addresses and phone numbers is essential to the function of our directory services. Where appropriate, businesses should use contact details that are separate from the personal data of individuals:
Where, as a business or Data Controller, you provide us with data for publication which may be linked to an individual you acknowledge that you have waived your right to choose other more anonymous contact details and that it is your intention for these details to be promoted as the contact details for that business.
Please contact email@example.com to request any change to business contact details.
When we act as Data Processor
When a business or body gives us your personal details as a customer and asks us to contact you by email, by post or by phone, then we are acting as data processor for them. We will not publish your name or personal details or use them for any other purpose unless you otherwise agree.
When a business or body gives us data that may be linked to an individual as part of the information required to operate our websites or services (eg firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com) then we are acting as data processor for them. If you are adversely affected by this, you should contact the data controller and we recommend that you should provide generic, rather than personal, contact details wherever possible. You may also contact firstname.lastname@example.org to advise us of your concerns.
In either case, the business or body is the data controller and you should contact them with any questions relating to privacy.
When we act as Data Controller
When you use our website(s), then we act as data controller in relation to your personal data and any other information you provide. We automatically collect personal data using cookies and your IP address. Please direct any questions to us at email@example.com
The personal data we collect
We collect your IP address, the web site from which you visit us, the web pages you visit and the date and length of your visit. We do not collect special category data such as racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, health conditions. Read the ICO guide to special category data
Why we collect your personal data
To generate anonymous trends and analysis – for example by location. These statistics are not personal data as they are anonymised and you will not be identifiable from them; to assist in the verification of genuine transactions, the resolution of disputes, the prevention of fraud and to bring or defend legal claims; to help us manage and secure our websites, including an understanding of how visitors use our websites.
Legal basis for the processing
When we act as data controller, the information is necessary for our legitimate interests which include:
When we act as data processor, we treat personal information with the same care, but the responsibility for the legal basis lies with the data controller. When we process your personal data on the basis of your consent, you may withdraw your consent by following the unsubscribe link in our emails or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
How long we keep your personal data
Unless you agree otherwise:
We keep your name, email address and phone number for 10 years. This allows us to contact you during that period. Some issues can take several years to emerge.
We keep the anonymized demographic data indefinitely. This allows us to compile anonymous statistics including customer ages, gender and experience as well as customer loyalty by industry or area.
We may keep personal data for longer in some cases, including where there is a statutory, regulatory or other legal need to do so.
Where personal data is included within the information provided to us under contract with another data controller, we do not keep that personal data when the contract expires unless the business registers directly with us and authorises us to act as a data controller.
Where more than one retention period applies to the same personal data, the longest period will apply.
Where we obtain your personal data
We obtain your personal data from businesses, as their data processor and from you, as data controller, when you submit information to our websites, communicate with us, or otherwise provide personal data to us; from your accounts on other websites, including Facebook or Twitter, when you give us permission to do so and automatically when you use our website, using cookies or similar technologies.
How we share your personal data
We may share your data with relevant professional bodies, trading standards, regulators, ADR providers, fraud protection agencies, insurers, legal advisors or other third parties to help monitor standards, prevent fraud and other risks and assist when disputes arise.
We share your data with our employees by providing secure access only as necessary for them to carry out their duties.
We share your personal data with regulators, government authorities or the police, as required by law or in response to their reasonable requests.
We may share your personal data in connection with any re-organisation, merger or acquisition of part or all of our business.
We share your data where you have agreed or asked us to do so.
We don't disclose information about individuals in the normal course of business, but there may be circumstances when we, at our discretion, believe it is appropriate to do so. For example: when we believe that the law requires it or to identify, contact or bring legal action against someone who may be breaking our rules or injuring Referenceline's rights or property.
The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team is run by:
The team is responsible for:
Please note: The team wishes to make it clear that when providing any advice or guidance:
Visit the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team website: ntselat.uk
The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team:
The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team doesn’t:
Even if you don't call yourself an estate agent, you may be seen as one in the eyes of the law if you:
The law includes internet run businesses.
If you’re in any doubt you should consult a legal adviser.
For more information, including exemptions, please see: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/web/ntselat/what-estate-agency-work-is
If you’re an estate agent, there are important laws and regulations that may apply to you. The Estate Agents Act 1979 explains them in more detail.
For further advice on the Act and how it applies to you, contact:
To contact National Trading Standards
Whether you are