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Letting agent redress schemes

All letting agents must belong to a letting agent redress scheme.

Letting agent redress schemes look at disputes between you and your letting agent.

You can complain to a redress scheme if your letting agent treats you badly.

You usually need to complain to the letting agent first.

Then you complain to a redress scheme if you are not happy with how the letting agent responds.

Redress schemes are independent.

What are the schemes?

There are 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 show 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 if the letting agent does things like:

  • charging and not refunding banned fees

  • not explaining things properly to you

  • delaying things like getting your references

  • charging you hidden fees, for example, making you pay more than you should for rent in advance

  • being rude

You cannot usually complain about problems caused by the landlord unless the letting agent helped cause the problem.

How to complain

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

Use the agent's complaints procedure. A complaints procedure tells you the steps to take make a complaint.

Write to the manager if your letting agent does not have a complaints procedure.

Complain to the redress scheme if you've complained to the agent and either:

  • you're unhappy with their final response

  • 8 weeks have passed and your complaint has not been sorted out

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

To complain to your agent's redress scheme, follow the steps on the redress scheme's website:

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

The Property Redress Scheme

What happens next

The redress scheme looks into your complaint.

If the redress scheme agrees that you are right, they can tell the letting agent to:

  • apologise

  • give you compensation

You and the letting agent must do what the scheme says.

Other ways to fix things

You could:

  • make a complaint to Trading Standards

  • complain to Propertymark if your letting agent is a member

  • take court action to claim compensation

Redress schemes will not deal with your complaint if you start court action.

Complaints about tenancy deposits

Use your tenancy deposit dispute resolution service if your complaint is about your deposit.

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: 9 July 2024

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