15th April 2014
Millions of tenants and leaseholders will receive stronger protection from unscrupulous letting agents under new plans announced by Housing Minister Kris Hopkins.
The minister revealed three approved ‘redress schemes’ that all letting and property management agents will be required to join later this year, which are designed to ensure tenants and leaseholders have a straightforward option to hold their agents to account.
The three compulsory redress schemes – the Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property and the Property Redress Scheme – will offer independent investigation of complaints about hidden fees or poor service. Where a complaint is upheld, tenants and leaseholders could receive compensation.
The majority of letting agents are already signed up with one of the three organisations but the remaining 3,000 agents, accounting for some 40% of the entire industry will now be encouraged to join one of the initiatives ahead of the legal requirement.
Hopkins said the new rules would strike the right balance between protecting tenants and not harming the industry with excessive red tape, and were just one part of the government’s efforts to secure a better deal for tenants in the private rented sector.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins says: “All tenants and leaseholders have a right to fair and transparent treatment from their letting agent. Most are happy with the service they receive, but a small minority of agents are ripping people off, and giving the whole industry a bad name.
“That’s why we will require all agents to belong to one of the official redress schemes. They will ensure tenants have a straightforward route to take action if they get a poor deal, while avoiding excessive red tape that would push up rents and reduce choice for tenants.”
Other measures that are being introduced by the government to protect tenants include: