How to challenge DSS discrimination

What happens after you complain

The agent should acknowledge a formal complaint within 3 working days.

They should then investigate and have:

  • 3 weeks to give a full response

  • 8 weeks to give a final response

If you're satisfied with the agent's response

Your complaint could be resolved quickly and you should not need to take further action.

For example, if you're offered a viewing or a tenancy, or an apology and promise to deal with future applications properly.

If the agent wants more information

The agent might ask for more information depending on what you've already provided.

Find out how to show you can afford the rent.

Taking your complaint further

All letting and estate agents must belong to one of these schemes:

  • the Property Ombudsman (TPO)

  • the Property Redress Scheme

These schemes are independent and can look at customer complaints about agents.

The agent must display the name of the scheme they belong to in their offices and on their website. The council can fine agents up to £5,000 if they are not a member of either scheme.

If the agent fails to respond within 3 weeks

You can contact the scheme the agent belongs to if the agent ignores your letter or fails to provide a full response within 3 weeks.

The scheme may just remind the agent to follow their complaints process at this stage. The agent still has up to 8 weeks to provide a final response.

If the agent fails to provide a final response within 8 weeks

You can escalate your complaint if you do not get a final response within 8 weeks.

If you're not satisfied with the agent's final response

You can escalate your complaint if you receive a final response from the agent that you're not happy with. Check it is the agent's final response before you escalate your complaint.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has warned its members that DSS discrimination is unlawful. They will investigate complaints of DSS discrimination. The Ombudsman has worked with Shelter to provide guidance to help you make your complaint.

Last updated: 5 June 2022

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