Residential letting agent Jill Elkington, Midlands spokesperson for the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has welcomed a High Court judgement which clarifies transparency on letting agents fees.
“We welcome Mr. Justice Mann’s clarification on the issue of contract transparency in relation to letting agent fees in response to the High Court judgement on the case of the OFT vs. Foxtons.
Contrary to misleading information that has already appeared in the press, the ruling has not stated that renewal fees are unfair but that these fees must be explicitly laid out.
ARLA strongly supports the need for transparency and our members adhere to this premise though a strict code of practice, which binds them to ensuring all fees and charges are made clear,” said Jill Elkington who heads Lincoln-based chartered surveyors Hodgson Elkington’s Residential Letting Department.
“The lettings market has changed irrevocably in recent times. ARLA’s members have recognised this change by launching the licensing campaign for lettings agents which is founded on the need for improved standards, best practice and redress for consumers.
This ruling will serve, therefore, as another building block in our aim to create strong foundations for the lettings market as we re-assess the provision of our services and how we communicate them.
“To quote the clause E.III of the Code of Practice: “The Terms of Business used by a Member Firm must be clearly presented and written in plain and intelligible language and endeavour, where appropriate, to take account of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations.”
“In effect ARLA members have always been encouraged to follow industry best practice and to provide information on fees and charges in a clear and transparent manner.
“The letting of a residential property is, by its nature, a complex transaction centred on the emotive subject of people’s homes.
A key element of ARLA’s licensing campaign to professionalise the sector is to increase consumer understanding of this complex process. We once again encourage landlords and tenants to only choose ARLA members. This is because they are advised to make all fees and charges clear and reasonable and are subject to a consumer complaint scheme if they are not,” said Jill Elkington.