As ARLA registered Estate Agents in W1, earlier this year Davis Brown attended the London ARLA Regional meeting earlier this year to find out some more information about the changes to the Consumer Rights Bill. The new ruling declared that all agents must display all fees associated with renting a property. The idea is to eliminate any confusion about the costs involved with letting and renting and avoid any hidden charges springing up. Davis Brown are estate agents and chartered surveyors based in London, it is vitally important for us to comply with all legislation and make sure that we are providing the best service to clients and applicants alike. To make things a little easier for you, we have drawn up an overview of the new rules and what it means for you as the consumer.
Where the fees should be displayed:
All estate agents must display a list of fees at all of their premises where the agent is dealing face-to-face with consumers – for example at our office in Fitzrovia; our fees are displayed in reception to ensure they are easily accessible. Agent’s fees must also be displayed on the company’s website – as estate agents in W1, our website has a downloadable PDF version so that it can be saved and kept for reference.
How the fees should be displayed:
The list of fees must include all possible charges with a clear definition for each. For example, vague terms such as administration cost cannot be used and must be explained. As estate agents in Fitzrovia, we believe our administration costs are fair as they cover the administration associated with the tenancy such as undertaking references and preparing the agreement.
All costs must now also be inclusive of VAT to further avoid any ambiguity over the costings involved. Furthermore, it must be clear whether the fee is charged per tenancy, or per tenant.
Sometimes a fee cannot be reasonably determined in advance, for example inventory charges are based on the size of the property and whether it is furnished or not. In cases such as these, the list of fees should explain how a final cost will be calculated.
What does this mean for you?
The aim of the legislation is to make it clear to both landlords and tenants what costs are involved in renting / letting out a property. The hope is that agents will be up-front with their fees and charges, which will make it easier for you, the consumer to make an informed decision about the agency you choose to use.
For more information about renting or letting a property in W1, contact our estate agent’s Emma or Sarah-Jane.