Raft of new measures will affect landlords and letting agents
Tenants will be better protected from unscrupulous landlords and agents by a raft of new measures now coming into force, according to Housing Minister Kris Hopkins.
Mr Hopkins said: “All tenants and leaseholders have a right to fair and transparent treatment from their letting agent. That’s why we will require all agents to belong to one of the official redress schemes.”
The schemes come in three forms: The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services - Property and The Property Redress Scheme. All letting agents will have to be registered with one of these schemes. Currently, about 60% of agents have signed up, with another 3,000 yet to do so.
Tenants will receive guidance about the standards they should expect from their agent. There will be an independent investigation into any complaints made, including issues over hidden fees.
Mr Hopkins added: “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.
“The redress schemes will ensure tenants 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 redress schemes are the latest in a line of new measures relating to the rental market. Others include:
- A new help to rent guide, which will help tenants understand what they should expect from their rental deal, and how they can take action if they are the victim of hidden fees or poor standards of accommodation.
- The introduction of a model tenancy agreement, which landlords and tenants can use for longer tenancies (3 years, for example) which will provide extra security and stability for families.
- Extra guidance for local councils on how to tackle rogue landlords, protect tenants from illegal eviction and how best to push for harsher penalties before magistrates for housing offences where these have a real impact on peoples’ lives.
The Government will continue to review the market, with the aim of getting a better deal for tenants without penalising the majority of fair, law abiding landlords and agents.
Please contact Santokh Singh if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of commercial property law.