Estate agents have delivered mixed reactions to comments made by ARLA warning them not to breach or circumvent the Tenant Fees Act.
In a Webinar, yesterday with PropTech firm Goodlord, David Cox – CEO of ARLA, the UK’s largest professional body for lettings agents, outlined the Do’s & Dont’s for agents when the Tenant Fees Act comes into force on June 1st.
“If you’re trying to find ways around the ban, I can assure you that there are no loopholes,” stated Cox.
While Residential People can confirm that several agents across the country are working in accordance with the ban, Cox acknowledges that some agencies might not be as willing to adhere to the new rules.
Cox states: “We all know there will be businesses who will continue charging fees after the ban. It’s not fair on good agents if bad agents are still charging fees.”
However, Cox warns such agents that “It is not worth trying to breach the ban. There will be a fine of £5,000 for the first offence and then either £30,000 for second and subsequent offences or criminal prosecution, which is an unlimited fine and a banning order.”
The high penalties that agents risk by breaking the upcoming legislation, has drawn some exasperation from agents who criticise the potential charges.
One perturbed agent sarcastically commented, “Nice of the level of fines to be so in proportion to real life” while comparing the corresponding fees to the cost of being compensated for the loss of sight in one eye.
Meanwhile, other commentators directed their frustration at ARLA themselves, criticising the non-profit organisation for appearing on Goodlord’s platform.