Lambeth Council's Trading Standards service has recently commenced compliance monitoring and enforcement work in relation to firms who operate a lettings agency business and/or engage in property management work.

It is the aim of the service to drive up compliance with the relevant legislation by way of advice visits supported by signposted guidance on the Trading Standards webpages.

As we plan to issue monetary notices to firms who fail to comply, we want to minimise the burden this might place on the councils contact centre by providing guidance to explain why a notice has been issued.

We also wish to maximise our intelligence in relation to the lettings and property management sector by providing signposts to guidance to consumers to find out about their rights and report concerns.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Business advice and inspection

We regularly inspect shops and businesses in Lambeth - everything from estate agents and garages to Internet companies and theatres - to ensure their trading practices, advertising and pricing comply with the law.

Enforcement

If local businesses are not operating within the rules we can take legal action.

To help ensure that the public can be confident about the goods and services they buy in Lambeth, we also advise local businesses on complying with consumer law.

You can find more advice for businesses on the Everything regulation website

What you can do to help

The trading community can always approach us with individual problems or larger marketplace issues that they need assistance to resolve.

Members of the public can complain to us if they encounter unlawful business practice. Make a consumer complaint

2. Trading Standards - No Cold Calling Zones

Our Trading Standards team have worked with residents to designate a number of areas in Lambeth as No Cold Calling Zones (NCCZ).

A NCCZ is an area where residents have stated they do not wish to receive unsolicited visits (cold calls) to their homes.

Why have we set up NCCZs?

NCCZs are primarily intended to act as a deterrent to rogue traders and distraction burglars. They are a declaration to those involved in cold calling that residents will report suspect activities to Trading Standards.

If you are having building or repair work done and you were not given any paperwork explaining your cancellation rights before the work started, you can report your concerns to us and we will investigate.

Which streets in Lambeth are in a NCCZ?

If you are a business calling door-to-door in Lambeth you can check which areas are in the NCCZ zone on the NCCZ maps:

Report cold calling in a NCCZ

If you live in an NCCZ, and are approached at your doorstep you can report the matter to us.

Can my street become a NCCZ?

If you would like your street to be designated a No Cold Calling Zone, you need to form a Neighbourhood Watch before your NCCZ requirements can be considered. Once your street is a Neighbourhood Watch, you can contact us to discuss the possibilities of becoming a NCCZ.

If you are interested in finding out more, read our NCCZ questions document.

3. Product safety

Our Trading Standards service has an important role in supporting and advising businesses, as well as cracking down on unsafe products and unscrupulous traders. We also give you access to safety warnings and safety advice sheets.

We can respond to your complaints if, for example, you have bought potentially dangerous goods or toys. See Make a consumer complaint for more on how we deal with complaints.

4. Weights and measures

Part of our job is to ensure that you receive the correct amount of products that you buy. On our inspections we check a variety of weighing and measuring equipment to ensure that it is fair and legal.

Testing services

We provide a limited testing and verification service for some weighing and measuring equipment, for example: petrol pumps, traders' scales and brake testers. Our service does not include the verification of traders' weights or capacity measures.

5. Lettings and Property Agency Work

The Trading Standards team have been issued authority to enforce:

The Order requires relevant businesses to join a redress scheme. The Act requires relevant businesses to display certain information in branch and on their website including fees and whether they are a member of a client money protection scheme.

Because the Trading Standards team are authorised to enforce this legislation they can issue monetary notices to businesses failing to meet the required standard. The penalty notices are for £5,000 for each branch or website found to be in breach. This means a business that has multiple branches and also a website can be subject to multiple penalty notices for each branch and the website found to be in breach.

The Trading Standards team take seriously its role in ensuring tenants in Lambeth are safeguarded and provided the protection they are prescribed in law. It is therefore vital for businesses in Lambeth to make sure they are meeting the standards expected of them in the Order and the Act as well as all other relevant legislation.

If you are a business in Lambeth and wish to find out more information on how to ensure your business is complying with legislation concerning lettings and property agency work, you will find the following links useful, though this is not an exhaustive list:

Gov.UK – Registering with a redress scheme as a property agent
Gov.UK – Deposit protection schemes and landlords
The Property Ombudsman
The Property Redress Scheme

Remember, as a business, it is your responsibility to ensure you are compliant with all relevant legislation and to seek necessary legal advice as required. If you have been issued with a Notice of Intent or a Final Notice in relation to breaches of the Order or the Act, the Notice will explain the process for appeal. The London Borough of Lambeth’s contact centre cannot assist or advise on appeals.

Information for tenants and residents living in Lambeth

If you are concerned about a business you can report your concerns to the Citizens Advice Consumer Services. More information and contact details can be found at Citizens Advice. You can report information anonymously if you so wish and Citizens Advice Consumer Services will notify the relevant Trading Standards service to investigate.

You can also find lots more information on your rights as a tenant on the Lambeth website at Housing and regeneration.

6. Contact Trading Standards

Trading Standards
1-9 Acre Lane
Brixton
London
SW2 5BF
Telephone: 03454 04 05 06 (National Consumer Helpline)
020 7926 5000 (Advice for Lambeth businesses)
Email: tradingstandards@lambeth.gov.uk