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A London estate agent has been fined for failing to display details of its Client Money Protection scheme or accurate details of the fees it charges tenants and landlords.
Atco Estates in Dagenham was fined a total of £4,000 for failing to display accurate details of the fees and protection scheme despite being advised to do so by local Trading Standards officers as far back as two years ago.
When trading standards later made a follow up check on the estate agent in May 2017, they found that Atco Estates still listed inaccurate fees information on its website.
Enforcement action was then taken, and the £4,000 fine was issued by a third-tier tribunal.
However, the estate agent appealed the tribunal decision claiming that it had published the correct information and that it could not afford the fine.
The estate agent’s appeal against the original decision has now been dismissed by the tribunal and details of the judgement and fine can be published.
Barking & Dagenham councillor Margaret Mullane commented: ‘We won’t allow businesses who do not play by the rules to get away with it.’
She continued: ‘If you want to be a letting agent in Barking and Dagenham, the message is crystal clear: you must comply with the law. We will continue to clamp down on rogue letting agents.’
Atco Estates, who specialise in the property lettings market, has now suitably updated its fees list to show that it charges a £450 holding deposit to prospective tenants, a £60 call-out charge to fix faults caused by a tenant and £100 to renew a tenancy, among other fees.
All estate agents and letting agents are required by law to clearly show any fees that are charged to both landlords and tenants and can face prosecution if they fail to do so.