Letting agents escape referral fees clampdown – at least for now

2 October 2020 | Renting

Letting agents escape referral fees clampdown - at least for now

It appears lettings agents may have escaped the recommended demands for referral fees to be made more transparent to customers.

A statement today by the National Trading Standards Estate and Lettings Agent Team focuses entirely on sales agents and the process of selling and buying. 

NTSELAT recommends to government that agents must be obliged to identify and explain referral fees to clients, but the wording of its statement on the issue confines the recommendations entirely to selling and buying. 

The recommendations include proposals for government to make transparency of referral fees mandatory in the sales process, and require a warning to be given to customers that they should consider shopping around, plus a public awareness programme to warn consumers about hidden referral fees, and additional industry guidance with professional bodies and redress schemes to encourage compliance.

The review by Trading Standards noted that the practice of referring customers to a preferred service provider in exchange for a fee is “regularly concealed” by sales agents. 

Likewise a parallel statement issued by housing minister Chris Pincher MP also steers clear of any reference to the rental sector.

Pincher says: “This government is committed to making it easier, cheaper and clearer for people to own their own home, including by making the buying and selling process more transparent.

“It is unacceptable that unscrupulous practices are still taking place where consumers are not being made aware of referral fees when buying or selling a property”

You can see full details of the recommendations here.

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.