Tenants, and those thinking of renting a property, are being urged by East Northamptonshire Council to ensure their agent is affiliated to a government approved redress scheme.
Since 1 October 2014, letting agents and property management agents in England have been required to register with one of three such schemes, designed to provide a free, independent service for resolving disputes between letting agents and their customers.
This compulsory requirement comes as a response to an increasing number of complaints from tenants and landlords about letting agents.
The schemes give tenants somewhere to turn if they have concerns about discrimination, hidden fees, missing deposits or other disputes – and, importantly, receive compensation if it is due.
Letting agents and property management agents have a choice of three approved redress schemes to join:
The Property Ombudsman Service – www.tpos.co.uk
Ombudsman Services: Property – www.ombudsman-services.org/property
The Property Redress Scheme – www.theprs.co.uk
Steven North, leader of East Northamptonshire Council, said:
“Most tenants and landlords are happy with the service they get from their letting agent. But the changes mean that - in the few cases where people have complaints – they now have somewhere to go with their concerns.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure that letting agents are all abiding by the rules and providing the sort of service and reassurance their clients have a right to expect.”
Agents who have yet to join one of the approved redress schemes are reminded that they should do so immediately as non-compliance could result in a fine of £5,000.