Fine & Country News Page

Risk and compliance solutions

The Risk and Compliance agenda has had a relatively quiet September but there are a few things which are worth mentioning in this October update.

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008)

Whilst the number of cases being reported is low, there is evidence to suggest increased activity by Trading Standards Teams. The last reported case resulted in at £7,500 fine to an agent. It is really important that you are able to demonstrate that the information you provide about a property is accurate and not misleading, nor does it omit any fact which may impact a potential buyers transactional decision – remember that these regulations also apply to Lettings, something often overlooked. Question to ask yourself and your team – what does your due diligence look like?

Letting Agents Fees and Charges

There is still much publicity about fees charged to Landlords and tenants by agents. It is reported that a Private Rented Sector Affordability and Security Group has been set up by the Government to investigate the costs for private tenants. Whilst none of us have a crystal ball to predict the outcome of this, agents can help by ensuring full transparency. All fees and charges likely to be charged to a landlord or a tenant during the course of the tenancy should be displayed in a prominent area in each branch where a Lettings service is provided, and on your website. Remember in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act these charges must be displayed as inclusive of VAT, must provide details on your redress scheme and should also provide details of any money protection scheme which your firm belongs to.

Immigration Act 2016

Whilst we have just about got used to the regulations under the Immigration Act 2014 which introduced the Right to Rent scheme from 1st February 2016 (unless of course you were in the pilot areas), then the Immigration Act 2016 will hit your branch – more information to follow, but basically it does not look as though it will mean any changes to the way you currently confirm an occupiers right to rent a property in the UK. From reading the information the Act will (1) make it more difficult for people to rent a property in the UK that have no right to do so; (2) will crack down on rogue landlords and agents who are potentially abusing the current system; (3) make legislation easier for landlords to commence with eviction proceedings for illegal occupiers and (4) create a new criminal offence for rogue landlords and agents who repeatedly fail to carry out right to rent checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal migrants from their property. We will continue to keep a close eye on this and keep you updated

4th European Money Laundering Directive

Despite ‘Brexit’ we still have a legal obligation to comply with any European law until we know more about our exit from the EU and the implication on any European laws. This is currently out for consultation and whilst the regulations contain a number of proposals across a number of business areas – the ones of interest to us are (1) Potential professional and self-regulatory body supervision and (2) Estate Agents meaning to potentially be extended to include Letting Agents - both of these will have an impact on all Estate Agents. We will continue to monitor the consultation, keeping you updated on any changes and what these mean to you.

If you want more information about the issues mentioned in this newsletter or wish to have more information on the Compliance service then contact your regional representative or me directly at
Categories: General