Your options for complaining if you're unhappy with the conduct of a letting agent you used to find a private rented home.
Complain to the letting agent
Your first step should always be to raise the issue with your letting agent directly.
Most letting agents and estate agents have a complaints procedure you can follow. Look on the agent's website or ask their office for details. They must tell you about their complaints procedure if you ask.
Set your case out clearly in writing and provide details of times and dates where relevant. Send a written complaint if the letting agent doesn't 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.
Find out more about how to make a complaint.
Complain to a letting agency redress scheme
Since October 2014, all letting agents have to be members of a letting agency redress scheme.
These schemes can help you with 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.
Use Shelter's letting agent dispute tool to make your complaint.
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 deal with your complaint only if you have been through the letting agent's complaints procedure. The association cannot help 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 trading standards
Local council trading standards departments can investigate complaints about letting agents.
You can report a letting agent to trading standards if the agent hasn't registered with a letting agent redress scheme or their practices appear unfair. Trading standards may be able to investigate unfair charges.
To complain to trading standards, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.
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 may not be aware of how well the agent is looking after things.
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.
Find out how to find your landlord.
You may be able to make a claim against the letting agent in the small claims court for a dispute about money.
Find out more from AdviceGuide about small claims.
A housing adviser may be able to help you with your next steps if you are not sure what to do next or need help making a court claim.
Use Shelter's directory to find a housing adviser
Last updated 10 Aug 2015 | © Shelter