The Residential Landlords Association is urging the Government to do more in order to enforce compulsory fee disclosure.
Since May 2015, the Consumer Rights Act has deemed it mandatory for letting agents to publish all details of any fees that they charge to landlords and tenants.
Those who were found to not comply could be fined up to £5,000. However, new statistics suggest that these regulations are not being enforced in many regions.
The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) suggests that since it became a legal requirement for agents to display fees, 93% of councils have failed to issue a solitary penalty to law breakers.
In fact, the NALS research shows that only three penalty notices have been served across the whole of England for failure to display fees.
59% of councils admitted that they do not feel the displaying of fees is a high priority. 45% said that they only undertake reactive enforcement activity.
With MPs set to debate letting agent fees in Parliament today, the RLA has called on the Government to do more in order to enforce existing regulations aimed at improving transparency surrounding fees.
The organisation has called for the Government to force agents to display the fees that they charge in greater detail and in more prominent positions.
Additionally, the firm suggests that fines for non-compliance should be higher, at £30,000 as opposed to £5,000.
David Smith, RLA’s Policy Director, noted: ‘Laws without proper enforcement serve only to let tenants and good landlords down. Rather than pressing ahead with plans for more legislation in the sector to ban letting agent fees at an unknown time in the future, Ministers could achieve greater and earlier impact by using the powers they already have to improve transparency and introduce far tougher penalties for agents found to be breaching the law.’
‘This would send a clear message that enforcing bodies will not tolerate any letting agents flouting the law,’ Smith added.