OFT wins right to challenge Foxtons in High Court
The Office of Fair Trading has won the right to challenge Foxtons about its terms of business for landlords.
It follows a Court of Appeal Ruling that overturns a decision disallowing the OFT from challenging Foxtons' renewal fees, which it deems to be unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999.
The OFT initiated High Court proceedings against Foxtons in February 2008, seeking an injunction against the London agency's lettings terms under the UTCCRs.
The Court of Appeal has ruled that the OFT can now take enforcement action under the UTCCRs to protect consumers in relation to both existing and future contracts.
The Court of Appeal states that traders should not have the freedom to pursue existing customers without restriction, in correspondence or by litigation, in order to enforce contractual terms that have been found to be unfair.
The OFT objects to landlords being forced to pay fees where Foxtons has not been involved in persuading a tenant to stay, collecting rent or managing the property. The OFT also objects to Foxtons' terms that require a landlord to pay fees after they have sold the property.
Foxtons contends that such terms with landlords are not unfair.
The fairness of terms across all of Foxtons' contracts are due to be heard in the High Court from April 27 to 29.