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ARLA Propertymark has sought Counsel’s Opinion from housing barrister Erol Topal to clarify for it’s agent members if the tenant fees ban allows for a charge or commission to be made for arranging repair works. This has been a common and frequently asked question by agents since the legislation came into force on the 1st June 2019.
ARLA have released their summarised guidance with an example question:
Q. If a tenant causes damage such as blocking the toilet with nappies and the landlord instructs the agent to arrange the repairs, can the landlord pass on the agents’ commission as well as the actual costs of the repair to the tenants?
A. Opinion is that this would be against the spirit of the legislation and would only be possible if there were a clause in the agreement making it clear to the tenant. However, such a clause may be subject to challenge under consumer protection law and if deemed an unfair term, the agent could be liable for a penalty.
The conclusion is that the agent’s cost of arranging repairs is not recoverable from the tenant.
ARLA has confirmed it will not be changing its own standard contracts and advises it’s agents that commission or charges on repairs should not be passed on to tenants.
Click here to download the full legal guidance.
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