From the 1st October 2014, all letting and property management agents must be registered with a government authorised consumer redress scheme. This will be a legal requirement bringing this group of agents in line with legislation which is already in place for estate agents.
What is a redress scheme?
A redress scheme is a service provided by a government approved body. It aims to resolve consumer complaints when a satisfactory resolution hasn’t been reached between two parties.
What are the goals of this new scheme?
The scheme aims to raise standards in the lettings industry by highlighting best practices and will also serve to identify and help eliminate poor behaviour. There will be no charge for tenants or lease holders to make complaints about hidden fees or poor service. When a complaint is upheld, compensation may be provided.
What’s the current state of play?
As of September 2014, 40% of letting agents in England were still yet to sign up to a scheme. Failure to sign up by the 1st October could result in a fine of £5,000 or even closure.
Agents can sign up for one of three property redress schemes; The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Service Property or the Property Redress Scheme. All are designed to resolve consumer complaints made against property agents and other property professionals.
Parties are encouraged to try to resolve complaints themselves. Failing that, a property redress scheme will either offer a mediation service or provide an Ombudsman who will make a binding decision on how to resolve the complaint.