You can complain to an independent redress scheme if a letting agent doesn't resolve your complaint about its service.
What is a letting agent redress scheme?
Letting agents must join a government approved letting agent redress scheme.
The three letting agent redress schemes are:
Letting agent redress schemes provide a free, independent service for resolving disputes between letting agents and their customers. Landlords and tenants can complain to the schemes.
Letting agents must cooperate with any investigation.
The decision made by a redress scheme is binding on all parties.
The letting agency has to comply with any orders to pay you compensation, to pay a fine or to put something right. Tell the scheme if the letting agent doesn't comply.
Check which scheme a letting agent belongs to
Ask your letting agent which scheme they belong to or check their website. Some letting agents display details on stickers in their windows.
You can search each scheme's membership list to find out which one a letting agent has joined.
It's an offence for a letting agent not to join a redress scheme. Your local council can investigate and prosecute letting agents who haven't joined to a scheme.
The council can issue a fixed penalty fine of up to £5000 to a letting agency branch that is not a member of a scheme. Letting agents with multiple branches could face multiple fines.
What you can complain about
Issues you can complain about to a letting agent redress scheme include:
- lack of transparency about fees
- inaccurate property descriptions
- disputes about holding deposits taken to reserve a property
- not passing rent onto the landlord
- slow or poor service
You can also complain if a letting agent breaches the redress scheme's code of conduct or doesn't have an in-house complaints procedure.
The schemes won't cover complaints about the amount of fees charged or if they are reasonable, tenancy deposits or issues which are the landlord's responsibility.
When to complain
You can only complain to a redress scheme after you have given the letting agency the chance to deal with your complaint first.
You can complain to the letting agent's redress scheme after you receive their final response to your complaint or after 8 weeks if the letting agent doesn't resolve the issue within this time.
You must complain within the time limit set by the redress scheme. You may prefer to complain after you have left.
How to complain to a letting agent redress scheme
Use Shelter's Letting agent dispute tool to make your complaint.
Other ways to resolve the dispute
Letting agent redress schemes aren't the only way to resolve disputes with letting agencies.
Your other options could include:
- complaining to your local council
- complaining to a letting agent's professional association, if it is a member
- taking the letting agent to court to claim compensation (letting agent redress schemes can't help if you have already started court action about a dispute)
Find out more about making a complaint about a letting agent.
If you are worried about the risk of eviction
Get advice if you are worried that you may be evicted if you complain.
Use Shelter's directory to find a housing adviser
Last updated 12 Sep 2015 | © Shelter