Rogue letting agents have fines upheld for misleading renters

Thousands of pounds worth of fines issued to two rule-breaking letting agents have been upheld.

Tower Hamlets Council fined Xpresslink Properties, 172 Commercial Road, Aldgate, E1 2JY, and Field and May, 10 - 16 Tiller Road, Crossharbour, E14 8PX, £10,000 each as part of their crackdown on rogue landlords and letting agents. The fines were issued for failing to comply with the legislation which is in place to protect renters.

Both letting agents appealed the fines which were issued by the council’s Trading Standards team.

However, in June, the fines were upheld on the grounds that both organisations had failed to publish the fees landlords would incur and inadequately shared those for renters. Missing information also included whether renters and landlords money would be safely held within a client money protection scheme.

The fine for Field and May was reduced to £8,000 at a hearing on Monday 11 June. The fine for the Aldgate branch of Xpresslink Properties remained at £10,000 following a ruling on Thursday 28 June.

Legislation outlines that websites must clearly state if there are any fees associated with renting a property. Other information that must be accessible includes whether an agent is registered with a Client Money Protection Scheme. Rules, such as these, try to ensure that people don’t lose their deposit or have expensive fees imposed on them unexpectedly.

The council revealed last month that as part of its crackdown on rogue landlords and letting agents, it had fined 27 organisations a total of £150,000. Both Xpresslink Properties and Field and May were included in these prosecutions.   

Tower Hamlets was one of the first boroughs to contribute to the Mayor of London’s Rogue Landlord Checker and all of the organisations fined as part of this crackdown will be submitted.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“It’s imperative that people wanting to rent a home in our borough are not exploited by rogue letting agents or landlords. Our recently imposed fines, such as those against Expresslink Properties and Field and May, make it clear that we will not tolerate organisations that do not comply with laws to protect our residents.”

Cllr Sirajul Islam, Deputy Mayor for Housing (Statutory Deputy Mayor), said:

“We are committed to making sure information for renters is transparent and accessible. I would encourage anyone who has concerns about a landlord, letting agent or managing agent to report it to the council.”

If you have concerns about a landlord, letting or managing agents, you can report them via environmental.health@towerhamlets.gov.uk

To find out more about what the law demands from all private landlords and agents, read the Tower Hamlets Private Renters’ Charter: https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/housing/Private_housing/Renters_charter/Tower_Hamlets_Private_Renters_Charter.aspx

 

Posted on Tuesday 17th July 2018