Factsheet 16 - The Accommodation Agencies Act 1953

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The Accommodation Agencies Act 1953

 

Commencement: 

The Act came into force on 14th July 1953.

Background: 

The Act was originally passed as a short-term measure.  However, after a series of annual renewals, it was made permanent by s. 1 of the Expiring Laws Act 1969.  Although the legislation was introduced over 40 years ago, it is still actively enforced and there have been several cases with convictions in the last few years.  The Act was introduced to prevent agencies taking fees in advance from prospective tenants in return for details of properties.

Scope: 

The legislation applies to firms offering properties to let and their dealings with persons seeking such accommodation.

Requirements: 

Section 1(1) of the Act provides that a person shall be guilty of an offence if that person :-

  1. demands or accepts payment of any sum of money in consideration of registering,  or undertaking to register, the name or requirements of any person seeking the tenancy of a house or dwelling;
  2. demands or accepts payment of any sum of money in consideration of supplying, or undertaking to supply, to any person addresses or other particulars of houses or dwellings to let;
  3. issues any advertisement, list or other document describing any house or dwelling  as being let without the authority of the owner of the house or his agent.

Interpretation: 

Agents cannot charge prospective tenants for lists, addresses or details of properties that they have in their possession, and the Act is quite clear in this respect.

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