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Complain to trading standards

If your agent is not a member of a professional organisation, or if you’re still unhappy, you still have some options to take your complaint further.

If you think your letting agent has breached the Consumer Rights Act, which came into force on 1 October 2015, because they acted without due care and skill, took an unreasonable amount of time to do something, or charged an unreasonable amount of money, contact your local trading standards department.


The Consumer Rights Act 2015 has made it a legal requirement that letting agents in England and Wales must clearly display all their fees at their business premises and on their website.

The list must be inclusive of VAT and should include a description of each charge or fee, whether it applies to each property or each tenant and what it covers.

In November 2016, the UK government announced in its Autumn Statement that it plans to ban letting agents fees for tenants in England, with a view to introduce the ban as soon as possible.

A new draft Tenant Fees Bill to ban letting fees for tenants was introduced to Parliament on 1 November 2017, bringing the proposed ban one step closer to being brought into law in the future.

The Welsh government launched a consultation on proposals to ban letting agents from charging fees to tenants, which closed in September. The results will be announced at a later date yet to be confirmed.

Letting agency fees have been banned in Scotland since 2012.

Northern Ireland is still considering its options.

The letting agent must clearly state which scheme they are members of. The three government-backed schemes are:

  • The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
  • Ombudsman Services Property
  • The Property Redress Scheme

A local council can issue a fixed penalty fine of up to £5,000 to a branch of a letting agency that fails to join one of the schemes.

Holding deposits

A letting agent may ask you to pay a holding deposit, especially if you are searching in big cities such as London.

A holding deposit is paid when you intend to rent a property and want the letting agent to place a hold on the property being shown to other prospective tenants, while you go through the referencing process before you sign a tenancy agreement.

Learn more about holding deposits and steps you can take to safeguard your money by reading our holding deposit guide.

The tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord.

Most tenancy agreements are an assured shorthold tenancy agreement for a fixed term – usually six to 12 months.

Beyond that there are two main types of tenancy contract that your landlord might offer:

  • A joint tenancy agreement  This holds the whole group responsible for the property and collective rent payments.
  • An individual contract  This contract is between each tenant and the landlord. If you have the choice, ask for this type of agreement as this means if one person leaves the house for any reason or pays rent late, the other tenants will not be liable.

The tenancy agreement is a form of consumer contract and as such it must be in plain language which is clear and easy to understand.

It must not contain any terms which could be ‘unfair’. An unfair term is not valid in law and cannot be enforced.

What should it say?

Your tenancy agreement should contain the following information:

  • Your name, your landlord’s name and the address of the property which is being let
  • The date the tenancy starts
  • The duration of the tenancy from the start to the agreed finish date
  • The amount of rent payable, how often it should be paid, when it should be paid and when it can be legally increased
  • What payments are expected, including council tax, utilities and service charges
  • What services your landlord will provide, such as maintenance of common areas
  • Whether any other bills/charges are included in the cost of your rent, such as council tax or water rates
  • The notice period which you and your landlord need to give each other if the tenancy is to be terminated

What will happen to your security deposit?

According to housing charity Shelter, one in five private renters in England don’t know if their security deposit is protected.

Make sure any deposit given is paid into an accredited tenancy deposit scheme, protected under one of the three government-approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes.

Your landlord is legally required to place your deposit into an authorised deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Your landlord must also give you details of the scheme used, alongside information about your rights.


We are not Member of Client Money Protection .

We are Not VAT registered.

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