Newham Council inspecting letting agents to ensure a fair deal for renters

Private Sector Housing & Standards team, together with Trading Standards will carry out unannounced inspections of letting agents and property management agents in the borough beginning this week (10th January)

As part of our commitment to fight for Newham private renters, the Council will inspect offices and websites to ensure that agents complying with their duties to customers.

These duties include the agents’ obligation to display all fees and charges, and to be a member of a government approved client money protection scheme and property redress scheme, as well as other responsibilities under the Consumer Rights Act.

Agents who are not members of the requisite redress or money protections schemes face a fine of up to £30,000. They could also face removal or variation to their property licence. 

Rokshana Fiaz, Mayor of Newham, said:

“My message to any renters facing rent rises or possible evictions is that we are on your side. We are absolutely committed to supporting renters in Newham by helping you to understand your rights and protections.

“These inspections will ensure a level playing field for responsible agents while shining a light on unfair and potentially criminal practices by a dangerous minority.

“Newham renters can be reassured that we will not hesitate to impose fines or prosecute any agents that we find to be taking advantage of renters.”

With one of the highest rates of private renting in London, Newham’s research with partner with Generation Rent has revealed that 84 per cent of renters have encountered problems with tenancies, but 70 per cent have not reached out to the Council or others for support. These inspections are part of the Council commitment to build greater awareness and understanding of tenancy support.

The Council also encourages renters and agents to participate in the online  consultation on future property licensing schemes here, to ensure that our licensing scheme is working for all.

Tenants who are concerned about unfair trading practices can report concerns directly to Trading Standards by emailing [email protected] or can call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Newham Trading Standards advise tenants renting in the borough that if a letting agent asks for something unusual, like a payment for something that is not rent or a refundable deposit, then you should question this and seek advice through their website.

Published: 10 Jan 2022