Latest News

The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Specified Information) (Wales) Regulations 2019

18 November 2019

The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Specified Information) (Wales) Regulations 2019 have been laid in the National Assembly for Wales and if not annulled, could come into force in 19 days’ time. Read More...

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2019

18 November 2019

Propertymark is backing the Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week which starts on Monday 18th November 2019. Read More...

ARLA Propertymark Conference and Exhibition celebrates 25 years

18 November 2019

Having grown significantly since its inception in 1995, and with various venues to accommodate the growing interest, the ARLA Propertymark Conference is now firmly rooted at ExCel in London to house the size and appetite of interest from the industry. Read More...

Guidance released on aluminium composite materials cladding

14 November 2019

The UK Government has released information and advice for building owners, landlords and leaseholders where aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding is present on their building. Read More...

Buy-to-let mortgages stable despite slowdown in market

13 November 2019

Latest data has revealed an overall slowdown in mortgages despite the stability in the buy-to-let market with an expected further growth of 1 per cent in the next quarter. Read More...

Scottish Letting Agent Registration figures update

12 November 2019

The number of letting agents in Scotland who are now operating with a Letting Agent Registration Number (LARN) stands at 837 from 977 applications received by the Scottish Government. Read More...

The beginning of the end for dodgy agents

Tuesday 06 August 2019

Popular comedian Joe Lycett’s exposure of a London letting agent’s questionable practices shows that consumer rights are more relevant than ever, and as we’re more than aware, terrible practice is out there, but could publicity on shows like this be the stepping stone needed in order to crack down on these agencies once and for all?

Most viewers might have thought Joe Lycett’s foray into consumer rights wouldn’t yield any tangible results; yet in his recent TV series, Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, the comedian managed to not only inform viewers of the sometimes fraudulent tactics used by some letting agents, but he also managed to get some very real results.

The agency in question was accused of using several shady tactics to trick consumers; including:

  • Fake online reviews
  • Bait and Switch tactics
  • Pressure selling

Before the show they were previously prosecuted and fined for:

  • Renting an overcrowded property
  • Failing to publish fees
  • Engaging in misleading commercial practice

The segment went on to discuss the letting agents’ practice of using SpareRoom to advertise properties, sometimes in blatant disregard to the terms and conditions of the website; but, more importantly, the segment shone a light on what property professionals have known for a while: the industry still has elements of the Wild West, with cowboy agents getting away with ripping consumers off.

Only recently, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme looked at another letting agent with questionable practices, including allegations of illegal evictions, viewing fees (under the guise of a holding deposit) and removing tenant’s belongings from the property without warning.

While a raft of legislation in recent years should be driving bad practice out, seedy practices used by a small, but significant, number of agents are still very much evident.

And what about the damage to reputable agents that choose to be regulated in the sector? For every property and tenant managed by less reliable agencies, it is essentially one less client for those agencies that work hard to treat tenants fairly and morally. There’s also the risk that agencies become tarred with the same brush.

It shouldn’t take a popular comedian to get justice for tenants that fall victim to dodgy letting agents, but with the public eye more widened to the realities of the property sector, consumers are hopefully more aware of their rights and take dodgy agents to task, and industry bodies like Propertymark can use this increased awareness to further lobby for a regulated sector, where professionals are rewarded and the rogues swiftly dealt with.

Glow for Myton

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