Picture Perfect: Advertising Standards Authority insists fees must be more transparent
A recent initiative has been put into play, which proposes that all letting agents must present their agency fees clearly alongside the descriptions of the properties that they advertise.
The recent proposition could also affect landlords and means that estate agents will have to clearly disclose their compulsory administration fees when advertising properties, including information about a property's deposit, any rent to be paid in advance and also any contract fees involved.
These recent changes have swiftly come into play with a solid verdict from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) who have now declared that all advertised properties must show the information required in order for consumers to be able to make informed decisions on whether to rent a particular property with a particular agent.
This pronouncement from the ASA means that in future, all letting agencies must declare their full fee information and in circumstances where this cannot be presented upfront, agents must be able to advise consumers that the advertisements on show are not without their hidden extras, and in turn be capable of explaining how these additional costs would be calculated.
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It is hoped that with these new regulations in place, it will help to unveil the unknown and make the process of renting a property less threatening, and in turn make sure that the fees imposed do not ostracise vulnerable people (such as first time renters and students) from looking for a home.
By making it clear that an advertisement may not contain all the relevant facts and figures, people will not feel that when these are revealed to them, they have wasted their time and money invested into viewing certain properties, which in the long run may only be picture perfect.
Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA said: "Our ruling today makes clear that letting agents need to get their houses in order and treat potential tenants fairly.
"Renting a property is a significant commitment. For those who are new to the rental market, like students, navigating it can be particularly difficult. That's why the ASA is clamping down on letting agents who hide fees."