Nearly a year after the government pledged to force agents to disclose charges prominently, we check their websites to see if this is happening
Nearly a year ago a new “crackdown” on hidden charges by letting agents in England and Wales came into force. The government stepped back from banning the myriad fees tenants pay on top of sky-high rents – as they have done in Scotland – but said it would force letting agents to disclose them prominently in branches and websites instead. Transparency is much better than banning, said then housing minister Kris Hopkins. And there would be tough new fines for those who did not comply.
So I decided to go “mystery shopping” on letting agents websites this week to find just how transparent the industry has become. My first stop was Countrywide, because it won “lettings agency of the year 2015”. How could it be anything other than a paragon of virtue?