Introduction of Redress Schemes for Residential Lettings Agencies

September 2014

From 1 October all lettings and property management agents must belong to an approved redress scheme for dealing with complaints brought by customers.

The Government has approved three schemes: The Property Ombudsman (www.tpos.co.uk); Ombudsman Services: Property (www.ombudsman-services.org/property); and The Property Redress Scheme (www.theprs.co.uk). The schemes have different procedures and charging structures and agents should consider which scheme is most suitable for their business.

Agents must have their own internal complaints procedures. When these have been exhausted and a complaint remains unresolved, the redress scheme will investigate the complaint and make a ruling.

Many agents already belong to one of the schemes. In April 2014 the Housing Minister indicated that 3,000 agents (representing 40% of the industry) were not members of a scheme. Any agents who have still not joined a scheme need to act quickly and do so before 1 October. The penalty for failure to belong to a scheme is a fine of up to £5,000.

We have updated our Residential Lettings Agency Terms and Conditions to include reference to the Agent’s membership of one of the authorised redress schemes.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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