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Dagenham letting agent fined £4,000 for publishing incorrect fees

FineTags Adults , Business

A letting agent in Barking and Dagenham has been fined £4,000 for failing to publish the correct fees they charge tenants and landlords. 

Atco Estates, of 704 Green Lane, Dagenham RM8 1YX also failed to provide information about their membership of a Client Money Protection and Redress scheme. 

Letting agents must display their fees and other relevant information online and in their branches so prospective tenants and landlords know exactly what they’re paying from the outset when entering into a rental agreement.  

"If you want to be a letting agent in Barking and Dagenham, the message is crystal clear, you must comply with the law.”

Council Trading Standards officers first advised Atco Estates of their responsibilities in January 2017. After a follow up check on 24 May 2018, which found that the fees listed on the agent’s website were inaccurate, they served with a penalty notice. 

Atco Estates appealed the original notice stating they had displayed fees on their website and that they could not afford to pay the fine. 

A hearing on Friday 11 January 2019, by the General Regulatory Council 1st tier Tribunal, found that the fees listed on the agent’s website were inaccurate. The tribunal did not accept the letting agent’s argument that they could not afford payment and fined Atco Estates £4,000. 

Councillor Mullane, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety said: “We want to protect our residents and this case shows that we won’t allow businesses who do not play by the rules to get away with it. 

“We will continue to clamp down on rogue letting agents who abuse the system so we can better protect our residents. If you want to be a letting agent in Barking and Dagenham, the message is crystal clear, you must comply with the law.”

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