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3 Compulsory Redress Schemes To Investigate Lettings Complaints

3 Compulsory Redress Schemes To Investigate Lettings Complaints

3 Compulsory Redress Schemes
To Investigate Lettings Complaints

The Government have approved three compulsory redress schemes to offer landlords and tenants in the UK private rented sector independent investigation into complaints in the property management and lettings industry, bringing them in line with redress schemes already in operation for residential property sales.

The 3 lettings industry redress schemes are:

  • The Property Ombudsman
  • Ombudsman Services Property
    • The Property Redress Scheme 

The new schemes will consider all complaints made by tenants and landlords including non-disclosed fees and poor service delivery, and as with residential property sales where a complaint is upheld, tenants, landlords and leaseholders could receive compensation.

Two of the three redress schemes have been around for a while and The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is probably the most recognised of the two pre-existing schemes but little is known about the new Property Redress Scheme.

Most letting agents in the UK are already registered with at least one redress scheme, however 40% of the entire lettings industry, estimated to be around 3,000 agents, are to be encouraged to join up before membership is made mandatory later this year.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said that he hoped the new rules would strike the right balance between protecting tenants in the UK private rented sector and not harming the UK lettings industry with excessive red tape. The new redress schemes were just one part of the government’s efforts to secure a better deal for tenants in the PRS, stating: “All tenants and leaseholders have a right to fair and transparent treatment from their letting agent. Most tenants are happy with the service they receive, but a small minority of agents are ripping people off, and giving the whole industry a bad name. That’s why we will require all agents to belong to one of the official redress schemes. They will ensure tenants and landlords have a straightforward route to take action if they get a poor deal, while avoiding excessive red tape that would push up rents and reduce choice for tenants.”

The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer said: “TPO experienced a 34.2% increase in consumer enquiries relating to unregistered letting agents during 2013, which really underlines the importance of mandatory redress. Whilst my role as Ombudsman means that I am not a regulator and I can only review complaints after a dispute has occurred, making redress a legal requirement for lettings is a positive move. Clearly it would be better if complaints did not arise in the first place and robust legislation to enforce controls was in place.”

There are thousands of decent letting agents in the UK but there are also a fair proportion of rogue agents who operate under the radar, that lack the much needed transparency on fees and who are fleecing both tenants and landlords alike.

Landlords should ensure their appointed property managing or letting agent is registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).

Most UK tenants are unaware that they could be leaving themselves open to exploitation if the agent is not a member of at least one of the regulatory associations.

Latest UK Residential Property News From The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Latest UK Residential Property News From The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Interest from potential buyers in UK residential property dropped off slightly during June 2012, with 10% more surveyors reporting a fall in new enquiries, according to the latest RICS survey.

This was also compounded by an insignificant proportion of new build residential homes hitting the market as new instructions dropped for a second successive month.

Overall activity in the UK residential property market has struggled to see any noticeable improvement since the end of the stamp duty holiday in March.

According to the latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report, residential property supply and demand failed to turn a corner in June with newly agreed sales slowing for three consecutive months.

12% more chartered surveyors who responded to the survey across the UK reported falls rather than rises in newly agreed sales, while the average number of completed sales per surveyor over the previous three months fell fractionally to 15.5.

Residential property prices across the UK continued to fall last month, with 22% more surveyors reporting price falls rather than raises, the weakest reading since October 2011.

Regionally, London was once again the only part of the UK to report rising prices, although the pace of increase has slowed significantly since the start of the year.

Expectations for future residential property prices showed little change as a net balance of 19% more surveyors expect prices to continue to fall. However, there is optimism surrounding property transaction levels, with 11% of respondents predicting property sales to increase rather than decline.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist said: “The housing market didn’t manage to turn a corner last month and activity remained in the doldrums. Fewer vendors looked to test the market and levels of buyer interest seem to have fallen back since the expiry of the stamp duty deadline earlier in the year. Although there is some positivity that the amount of sales going through is going to see an increase, it is unlikely that we will see any real movement until purchasing a property is more affordable and accessible for the likes of first time buyers.”

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