Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
Westminster Council have placed its own lettings agency, CityWest Residential, on Sadiq Khan’s Greater London Authority’s register of rogue landlords and letting agents.
CityWest Residential was fined £15,000 after being found in breach of Section 83 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for failing to display its letting fees accurately, details of its Client Money Protection scheme and information as to redress on its website.
The agency was the first set up by an AMLO in 2009 and currently manages over 1000 tenancies across Westminster borough. Their website confirms “We are committed to exceptional service and dedicated to reinvesting in the local communities where we operate. A percentage of our overall profit is given back to Westminster City Council and used to provide more affordable housing in the city.”
Director of City West Residential, Oliver Miller, said: “We have accepted and rectified the technical infringements of the Consumer Rights Act identified on our website and have paid in full the associated fines.
“We can confirm that no customer suffered financially as a result of the error and since rectifying the issue we have had confirmation from the Guild of Property Professionals to say that our website is fully compliant.”
A spokesperson for Westminster City Council said: “We fined CityWest Residential in December 2017 for not publishing relevant information on their website, which they simply should have done.
“Although these technical breaches have been remedied we feel it is very important that people have the right information, in this case details of agent’s fees amongst other things, so they can make the best choices for themselves when trying to rent a home.
“The Council holds CityWest Residential to the same high standard it holds all letting agents operating in Westminster, ensuring their customers receive the service they deserve and we will always act in the best interests of local people and consumers.”
Cllr Adam Hug, Labour group leader, said: “This story is just another example of the broken culture at Westminster Council and the deep problems at CityWest Homes. The organisation should be converted into an ‘ethical housing company’ that would work to improve standards in the local private rented sector.
“If Labour wins Westminster in May we will make sure the council uses its full range of powers and services to improve conditions for private renters in our city. We will create a Westminster that works for the many private renters, not the few organisations that seek to exploit them.”
Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.