Property Industry Eye reported at the end of December 2019 that since the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act on 1 June 2019 a number of complaints have been made that some agents are still charging fees to tenants which are banned by the Act.
The Property Ombudsman Scheme has received 110 complaints and the Property Redress Scheme has received 115 complaints.
What agents must bear in mind is that the penalty for breach of the Act can be both a civil and criminal offence. At one end of the scale, a civil offence will carry a financial penalty of up to £5,000 per unlawful fee charged. At the other end of the scale, serial offenders may be subject to a criminal charge which carried an unlimited fine.
The local authority which covers the property will have discretion whether to prosecute or impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000.
Some agents have expressed concerns that the Act was introduced without sufficient notice for them to prepare for its effect.
However, the legislation looks here to stay and agents would be wise to review their practices now (if they haven't already) to ensure that they are not falling foul of the Act.