The government has confirmed the identity of the three approved ‘redress schemes’ that all letting and property management agents will be required to join later this year.
The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property and The Property Redress Scheme will offer independent investigation of complaints about hidden fees or poor service. Where a complaint is upheld, tenants and leaseholders could receive compensation. Around 60 per cent of letting agents are already signed up with one of the three organisations. The remaining 40 per cent – 3,000 agents in all – are being encouraged to join up in advance of it becoming mandatory.
Relevant bodies within the property industry, as well as some MPs, had pressed for more wide-ranging regulation of residential agency work but so far the government has resisted those calls and is working on voluntary measures such as a code of practice that will set standards for the management of property in the private rented sector and model forms of leases. However it has signalled that the duty to check on the immigration status of any potential tenant before letting residential premises will come into force during the autumn of 2014.