From 1 October 2015 a new European Directive is coming into force in the UK. This directive relates to resolution of consumer disputes outside of Court and is being brought into force by the The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.

These regulations do not apply to contracts for the sake or rental of property and so no changes will be needed to tenancy agreements. The dispute resolution parts also do not apply to bodies who are already compulsorily members of an existing statutorily approved dispute resolution mechanism. As all letting and managing agents are now members of a consumer redress scheme due to the changes brought in by the Enterprise Act 2013 these new Regulations will have limited effect on operating procedures.

So What Will Change?

The new directive will apply to online agencies who have previously been exempted from the consumer redress schemes for estate and lettings agency. They will now have to signpost an approved ADR scheme to their customers in respect of disputes regarding their terms of business although they are not in any way obliged to be involved in such an ADR scheme or accept its rulings.

More pertinently agents who are members of a compulsory scheme must provide the name and web address of the scheme they are members of:

{C}1.    On their website if they have one;

{C}2.    In their terms of business.

Some agents do this already but many do not provide the web address of the scheme they have joined at the moment and will need to make changes to do so.

Failure to provide the necessary information will be enforceable by trading standards by way of a penalty notice and in more extreme cases they can seek court orders requiring firms to comply.