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Letting agent redress schemes

Letting agent redress schemes can solve disputes between letting agents and their customers. Tenants and landlords can complain to a redress scheme.

You can complain to a redress scheme if your letting agent does not resolve your complaint about their service.

Redress schemes are independent.

Agents must join 1 of the 2 government approved redress schemes:

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

The Property Redress Scheme

Your agent must tell you which scheme they belong to. They must display the name of the scheme in their offices and on their website.

The council can fine letting agents up to £5000 if they do not join a redress scheme.

Complaints redress schemes can deal with

You can complain to a scheme about issues such as:

  • charging and not refunding a banned fee

  • not explaining things properly

  • avoidable delays

  • hidden fees

  • rudeness

You cannot usually complain about problems caused by the landlord unless the agent has contributed to them.

Complaints about tenancy deposits

Use your tenancy deposit dispute resolution service if your complaint is about your deposit not being returned or unfair deductions.

How to complain

You must give your letting agent a chance to deal with the problem first.

Use the agent's internal complaints procedure. Write to the manager if your letting agent does not have a complaints procedure.

You can complain to the redress scheme if you've already complained to the agent and either:

  • you're unhappy with their final response

  • 8 weeks have passed and the issue is not resolved

You must complain within the time limit set by the scheme.

Follow the instructions for making a complaint on the redress scheme's website:

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

The Property Redress Scheme

What happens next

The redress scheme will investigate your complaint.

If your complaint is upheld, the scheme can order the letting agent to:

  • apologise

  • pay compensation for financial loss, avoidable distress or inconvenience

The scheme's decision is binding on you and the letting agent.

Other ways to resolve a dispute

You could consider:

  • a complaint to Trading Standards

  • a complaint to Propertymark if your agent is a member

  • court action to claim compensation

Redress schemes will not deal with your complaint if you've already started court action.

Complaining to an ombudsman about a letting agency

Video transcript

"Well my son had continued problems with the electricity and the gas, and because of the proximity of the agency to the flat, he would just pop in.

After one time when my son popped into the agency, he was followed back to the flat and one of the agency staff told him that any more complaining would be grounds to have him thrown out.

When my son mentioned that he was thinking about bringing a formal complaint that the agency then sent a two lined email to him telling him he had to be out within a month.

Eventually my son got to a point where he simply wanted to disassociate himself from these people.

He agreed to move out within the month."

If you're unhappy with a letting agency complain directly to them first. Then you can contact their redress scheme if you're still not satisfied or you haven't heard anything within 8 weeks.

There are 2 official redress schemes: The Property Ombudsman and The Property Redress Scheme. The agency must show which one they belong to in their offices and on their website.

As Sarah's son's agency was unresponsive, she contacted The Property Ombudsman

"It did become a full time mission to see this through. We chronologically ordered all of our emails and put together a very comprehensive log.

I took my time over filling in the form for the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman again would answer questions and clarify maybe how they wanted a form filled in.

And then it was a case of sending everything in. And the Ombudsman found in our favour. We were just delighted with winning the case, holding this letting agency to account."

Sarah complained to The Property Ombudsman after her son faced harassment and intimidation from a letting agent. Find out how she made her case.

Last updated: 19 July 2022

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