Trading standards Policy for enforcement and determination of financial penalties for letting agents

This policy sets out the council's approach to enforcement and specifically how financial (civil) penalties will be determined to deal with failures by those who are engaged in letting agency work and property management businesses in relation to the following:

  • Ensuring only permitted fees are charged
  • Membership/publication thereof in relation to redress and client money protection schemes
  • Transparency/publication of fees and charges 

The level of the financial penalties which can be imposed by the council varies depending on the infringement, however, they can be up to £30,000. It's for the council to determine the level of each penalty up to the maximums set in law. To ensure the penalties are used fairly and are set at an appropriate level, the policy sets out the factors that will be considered and the methods that will be used before a financial penalty is imposed. Factors are based on government statutory guidance, and the policy follows best practice, which has been set by England’s lead enforcement authority (national trading standards estate and letting agency team).

The policy aims to ensure renting is fairer and more affordable for tenants and that financial detriment is minimised through schemes aimed at protecting tenants’ money and providing for redress in the event of complaints. This policy supplements the council’s overarching 'Better regulation and enforcement' policy.