There a number of ways you can complain if you are not happy with a letting agent you have used to find a private rented home.
Complain to the letting agent
All letting agents and estate agents should have a complaints procedure. Look on the letting agent's website or ask at the agent's office for details.They must tell you about it if you ask.
Follow the complaints procedure when making your complaint. Set your case out clearly in writing and provide details of times and dates where relevant.
Send a written complaint if the letting agent does not appear to have a complaints procedure.
The letting agent may investigate, ask questions, ask you to send copies of documents and inspect your home. The letting agent should write to you to tell you the result of their investigation.
Take action if the letting agent doesn't resolve your complaint
If you are not happy with the result of your complaint or if the letting agent doesn't reply to your complaint, you can complain to:
- the letting agent's redress scheme
- the letting agent's professional association
- your local council's trading standards department
Get advice about resolving the dispute through court action. You may be able to make a claim against the letting agent in the small claims court.
Complain to a letting agency redress scheme
From October 1st 2014, all letting agents have to be members of a letting agency redress scheme.
These schemes can help you resolve a range of disputes about how a letting agency has behaved. They can't help you resolve a dispute about the amount of fees or charges made.
You can complain after your letting agent has made a final decision on your complaint or after 8 weeks, whichever happens first.
Complain to a letting agent's professional association
Consider making a complaint to a letting agent's professional association if a letting agency redress scheme can't help.
The main professional associations for letting agents are:
- National Approved Lettings Scheme
- Association of Residential Letting Agents
- National Association of Estate Agents
If the letting agent is a member of one of these schemes you can complain to that association or scheme.
The professional association can only deal with your complaint if you have been through the letting agent's complaints procedure and you are not satisfied with the result. The association cannot deal with your complaint if you have started court action to deal with it.
Write to the relevant association to explain what your complaint is about. Enclose copies of letters about the complaint.
You may be able to take court action if you are not happy with the result of your complaint. But if you agree an offer or decision about your complaint, you cannot take it any further.
Complain to your landlord about the letting agency
If you don't want to follow a formal complaints process, you could contact your landlord instead to complain about their letting agent's poor service.
Your landlord's name and address should be on the tenancy agreement or included in other correspondence or documents. Ask the letting agent for details if you do not know your landlord's name and address. The letting agent must tell you if you ask. If your landlord is a company, the letting agent must tell you the names and addresses of all the directors and the secretary.
Get advice about your next steps if you are not happy with your landlord's response or if the landlord doesn't reply to your complaint letter.
Use Shelter's directory to find an advice centre near you