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Complaints against letting agents increased drastically during 2012, occupying the majority of the Property Ombudsman’s time and increasing the organisation’s workload.

During 2012, the Property Ombudsman received a total of 15,782 complaints, including those made against both Estate agents dealing with property sales and lettings and property management agents concerning renting property.

The increase in volume was a 12% jump up from 2011 when there were 14,066 complaints and landlords were slightly more likely to make a complaint about letting agents rather than the tenants complaining about landlords.

In addition there was also a 39% increase in the number of cases referred for formal review or easy resolution. In total, the Ombudsman supported 73.8% of complaints against lettings agents.

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UK Landlords have been warned not to become complacent by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) ahead of the deposit regulation changes due at the beginning of April.

The new legal requirements for deposit protection allow a 30-day period to supply proof of deposit registration to the tenant instead of 14 days as from 6th April 2012.

The new tenancy deposit regulations state that the landlord can be sued on Day 31 for up to three times the value of the deposit provided by the tenant at the start of their tenancy, if the deposit has not been registered with one of the three official Government run deposit schemes or if the prescribed information has not been provided.

The TDS have summarised the changes and have also issued plain English answers to all the important questions brought forward by the changes due when the new Localism Act comes into force, including retrospective changes, penalties for missing the new deadlines, renewals, relevant persons and what happens with running tenancies.

Steve Harriott, TDS chief executive said: “The new provisions for tenancy deposit protection are welcome. But the extra time for registration is not a licence for landlords and agents to ignore the law. It means that the anomalies in the original Act have now been straightened out to everyone’s benefit.”

The TDS plain English answers to the new provisions for deposit protection can be found at: www.tds.gb.com

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