Complaints about letting agents

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.

Complain to a letting agency redress scheme

All letting agents must be members of a letting agency redress scheme.

These schemes can help you with a range of complaints about how a letting agency has behaved. 

This includes:

  • poor or incompetent service

  • hidden fees and charges

  • unfair treatment

You can complain after your letting agent has made a final decision on your complaint or after 8 weeks, whichever happens first.

You can't complain to a redress scheme about unlawful fees if you're already taking the case to a tribunal. 

Check if the agent is accredited

Some agents are members of professional associations or voluntary accreditation schemes. 

They have to meet certain standards to become accredited and you can complain to the scheme if they don't.

The main professional associations and accreditation schemes are:

The professional association can only deal with your complaint after you have been through the agent's complaints procedure. 

They can't help if you've started court action to deal with with your complaint.

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 can't 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 or unlawful 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 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 write to them.

If your landlord is a company, the letting agent must tell you the names and addresses of all the directors and the secretary.

Court action

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 Citizens Advice about small claims

Last updated: 29 November 2019

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