Letting Agency fees
At the moment, letting agents may charge tenants a fee. But if they do, their fees – including VAT - must be displayed clearly in their offices and on their website. You shouldn’t need to ask to see them.
The government has promised that it will ban letting agents’ fees for tenants. However, it is not clear when this will happen. Tower Hamlets Council welcomes the ban on charging tenants and will keep you informed of the timetable for implementation
Any future changes to the law will not stop agents from charging landlord fees. Find out more about the proposals here.
Until fees for tenants are banned, the law says that agents must display their fees prominently in their office and on any website they may have. You should be able to see the information without having to ask for it. The information on fees must not mislead you. The information must clearly describe:
Fees don't have to be published in this way for websites that only advertise properties, like Rightmove or Zoopla.
The council has powers to fine letting agents up to £5,000 for failing to display their fees correctly.
Some fees are already against the law. Letting agents must never charge you for:
- registering with them or showing you a list of properties to rent
- routine inspections during your tenancy
- anything they also charge the landlord for.
For further information about your rights when dealing with letting agents please see:
What if an agent is not displaying their fees properly?
The council can fine agents £5,000 if they do not display their fees properly. If your agent is not displaying their fees properly, please report them to Trading Standards. We promise that within 28 days of receiving a report we will let you know what action we are taking.
To report an agent to Trading Standards, you just call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline and tell them you want to report a letting agent to Tower Hamlets Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards if it's appropriate.
Citizens Advice consumer helpline
Telephone: 03454 04 05 06
Textphone: 18001 03454 04 05 06
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Closed on bank holidays.
Calls to the helpline cost up to 9p per minute from a landline. If you're calling from a mobile, it'll cost between 3p and 40p per minute - if you have inclusive minutes, it's the same as calling a landline. Find out more about call charges.
An adviser will answer your call as soon as possible, usually within a few minutes. Once you're speaking to an adviser your call should take an average of 8 to 10 minutes.
Be prepared to tell the adviser details of the problem and the company’s name and address.
You can also use an online form or write to the consumer helpline - make sure you mention that you want to report a trader to Trading Standards.
Trading Standards might contact you for more information and evidence. Depending on what we find out, we might take action to stop the agent from acting unfairly. For example we might educate the agent about the law or take legal action against them to stop them from trading completely. We may also fine them: the council has powers to fine letting agents up to £5,000 for failing to display their fees correctly.
If you want advice or help at any stage you can contact any of the organisations signed up to the Charter. We all promise to find the best way to improve your situation - and the most effective action to take against landlords or agents who break the rules.