1) How many open/ongoing investigations do you have into letting or estate agents/landlords breaching the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (i.e. prohibited fees / excessive deposits)?
b) Please detail what the alleged breaches are and include the amounts involved ( i.e. check in or check out fees, inventory fees, credit check fees etc)
2) Between June 2019 and June 2022
a) How many complaints did you receive about prohibited tenant fees or related issues? Please provide a yearly breakdown for year 1, year 2 and year 3 and details of the complaints, including amounts requested.
Between June 2019 and June 2020 we received four complaints. The details were as follows:
- the letting agent was charging 10% extra on top of repair fees
- there was an application fee for property (£216)
- letting agent fees: set-up fee, pet fee, guarantor fee check out fee and express moving in fee
- charging £25 to send letter if rent is missed.
Between June 2020 and June 2021 we received two complaints. The details were as follows:
1. £150 admin and referencing fee
2. Landlord trying to charge inventory fee – amount not specified
Between June 2021 and June 2022 we received four complaints. The details were as follows:
- Charging a set fee of £349 inc VAT to all prospective tenants to cover advertising, references, contracts and utilities. If a guarantor is required a fee of £99.00 + VAT is charged.
- Listing prohibited fees on website:
a Reference and credit check non-returnable fee of £99
b £20 fee per key for lost keys and the replacement cost of any locks required
c Late payment charges for rent and repairs, per tenant/guarantor
d Text – first reminder, no charge. Letter/email £10 each.
e Any subsequent texts £5 each. Visits £25 each.
f Phone call £8 each. Missed appointment £50 each
- Demanding consumer pays for extra charges citing no reason other than the contract clauses
- Staff have been told to charge tenant fees after the tenant fee ban
- Consumer charged prohibited fee – Professional cleaning – charged £50.
b) How many complaints did you receive about excessive deposits? Please provide a yearly breakdown for year 1, year 2 and year 3 and details of the complaints, including amounts requested.
2020-21: Two: Charging 3 months’ rent in advance, and offering to refund only half the holding deposit when the consumer failed the lettings agent’s referencing process.
c) Over the same timeframe – how many breaches were there of the Tenant Fees act? Please provide a yearly breakdown for year 1, year 2 and year 3 and details of the breaches, including amounts requested.
1 – £25 to send letter if rent is missed
1 – £150 admin and referencing fee
2 – Charging pet rent
3 – Charging pet rent – additional charge for each pet
4 – Charging Pet rent – deposit and monthly charged
5 – Charging Set up fee £150 for first tenant and £150 for additional tenants, Guarantor Fee £150 , Permitted Occupier Fee up to £150
6 – Charging pet rent of £25 per month
7 – When keeping pets requirement for professional clean
8 – Admin fee – £165
9 – Request to change tenancy £120 (max permitted is £50 or reasonable costs)
10 – Charging pet rent of £25 per month
11 – Charging prohibited fees – Overdue rent is charged at 6% – permitted to charge 3% above Bank of England base rate after 14 days, £35 & £55 fee for letters, £35 for refused payments, pay costs for missing an inventory appointment
1 – Charging a set fee of £349 inc VAT to all prospective tenants to cover advertising, references, contracts and utilities. If a guarantor is required a fee of £99.00 + VAT is charged.
2 – Charging Pet rent, interest on late rent before 14 days overdue, green deal payments.
3 – Charging pet rent.
4 – Tenancy deposit above 5 weeks (1 month plus £100), extra rent for pets, Interest charge for late rent 4%, applied before 14 days in arrears.
3) Over the same timeframe – how many notices have been issued? Please provide a yearly breakdown for year 1, year 2 and year 3.
b) What was the outcome (paid/withdrawn/ appealed)
c) Did the complainant get their money back?
The above figures relate to the Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards service to April 2021 and from then to the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service which additionally covers the Plymouth City Council area.