Housing Minister Brandon Lewis today (3 October 2014) welcomed new rules that require letting agents to join 1 of 3 redress schemes, to ensure tenants and leaseholders have a straightforward option to hold them to account.
The vast majority of landlords and letting agents provide a good quality service to those looking for a home in the private rented sector.
The redress schemes will help ensure standards are maintained and provide tenants with somewhere to go if they feel like they are getting a poor deal.
The schemes run by The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property and the Property Redress Scheme offer independent investigation into complaints about hidden fees or poor service.
Where a complaint is upheld, tenants and leaseholders could receive compensation.
The move is the latest in a wider drive to build a bigger, better private rented sector and give greater protection without introducing excessive regulation that would harm tenants, landlords and agents.
The government is also introducing new legislation to require letting agents to publish a full tariff of their fees ensuring that tenants have full upfront knowledge of what they will be charged.
Last month a new code of practice was published making clear the legal requirements of landlords and letting agents alike, leaving both in no doubt about their responsibilities to their tenants.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:
The vast majority of letting agents provide a good service, but in the small number of cases where people have complaints these should be addressed quickly and effectively.
The redress schemes provide that safety net, and as well as help maintaining high standards across letting agencies, will give tenants the extra confidence that they are getting a fair deal.
The redress schemes are another step in our drive to build a bigger better private rented sector putting power in the hands of tenants without harming the sector with excessive regulation and red tape.
The government has introduced other new measures to give tenants more confidence and provide clarity about their rights, including:
- a new model tenancy agreement, which landlords and tenants can use for longer tenancies if they wish, which will provide extra security and stability for families
- a new how to rent guide, which helps tenants understand what they should expect from their rental deal and how they can take action if they are the victim of poor standards of accommodation
Any letting agent not part of a redress scheme could face a fine of up to £5,000.