As of 1 October 2014, it became a legal requirement for all letting agents and property managers in England to belong to one of three Government-approved redress schemes. These are:
The service provided by these schemes allows tenants and landlords to complain to an independent person about the service they have received from a letting agent or property manager.
UPDATE JUNE 2018: Ombudsman Services Property recently announced that they will no longer be handling complaints in the property sector. For more information, please visit their website.
What does this mean for letting agents and property managers?
The requirement to belong to a redress scheme only applies to agents carrying out lettings or property management work ‘in the course of business.’ This sort of ‘business’ might involve a private landlord approaching an agent in order to find a tenant, or a tenant approaching an agent in order to find a property in which to rent.
For those looking to join a scheme, applications can be made online at any of the scheme websites.
What are the penalties for not signing up?
Landlords and tenants will be able to check whether a prospective agent has signed up by visiting one of the scheme websites. Failure to join an approved scheme can lead to a fine of up to £5,000 being issued by a local authority, or, if the agent continues to breach their legal requirement, the agency could ultimately be closed down.
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