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Letting agents reminded they could face fines of up to £30,000 if they fail to comply with standards

Published: Wednesday, 2nd November 2022

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Trading Standards and the Private Sector Housing Team have joined together to check compliance of letting agents within the city

The city council has received a number of complaints about letting agents and landlords, reporting that standards are not being met. Issues include illegal charges, agents failing to protect deposits or ensure membership of the redress schemes.

The city council will be providing advice and support to local businesses to ensure they are aware of their duties and are fully compliant. Failure to comply with the law can result in fines of up to £30,000.

It is part of a project running across the West Midlands.

Since 1 April 2019, all letting agents and management firms that handle clients’ money must be part of a Government approved Protection (CMP) scheme.  Letting agents across Stoke-on-Trent handle a significant amount of client money, and even small legislation breaches can expose customers to financial risks. Belonging to a CMP scheme helps make sure that tenants’ and landlords’ money, such as rents and deposits, is protected if the business fails.

Letting agents are also required to belong to an approved redress scheme which helps to resolve disputes between customers and services. This information, including the name of the scheme, logo and certificate number, should be published on their website and in their offices. They must also clearly display the following:

  • name and logo of CMP provider and a viewable certificate
  • landlord and tenant fees and charges

Cllr Carl Edwards, cabinet member for housing and environment said: “One of our key priorities as a city council is to make our towns and communities great places to live. We want to be Stronger Together Through Winter and this will help by improving housing conditions and the practices of letting agents who rent out properties in the city. 

“Although we know that most letting agents want to comply with the law, some are making illegal charges or not registering with the schemes. We need to identify and tackle these rogue practices to protect our residents and legitimate businesses.”

Any letting agent, landlord or property management business based in Stoke-on-Trent can seek further advice from the Council’s Trading Standards Team on 01782 236065 or by emailing public.protection@stoke.gov.uk.