It became a legal requirement on the 1st October 2014 for all letting agents and property management agents to belong to a Government approved redress scheme.
This means that tenants, landlords, leaseholders and freeholders in the private rented sector will be able to complain to an independent organisation about the service they have received. The intention is that the requirement to belong to a redress scheme will help improve private rented sector standards.
This requirement is enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5000 where an agent or property manager who should have joined a scheme has not done so.
The 3 schemes are:
- Ombudsman Services Property (external link) Tel: 0330 440 1634
- Property Redress Scheme (external link) Tel 0208 275 7131
- The Property Ombudsman (external link) Tel 01722 333306
Who does this apply to?
- Any individual or company who in the course of their business responds to instructions from a private rented sector landlord who wants to find a tenant to rent a property under a domestic tenancy.
- Any individual or company who in the course of their business responds to instructions from a tenant who wants to find a property to rent under a domestic tenancy.
- It does not apply to tied accommodation, student accommodation provided by higher and further education establishments and registered social landlords.
- A person or company who engages in property management work by responding to instructions from another person who wants to arrange services, repairs, maintenance, improvement, insurance or deal with any other aspect of the management of premises.
- The properties can be let under a long lease, assured tenancy or a protected tenancy.
- It does not apply to land registered as common hold land, premises that are wholly or mainly for the accommodation of students, council housing and registered social landlords.
You can find more information if the Redress Scheme applies to your business from the Government website under Lettings Agents and Property Managers – Which Government approved redress scheme do you belong to? (external link)
What if you don’t join a scheme?
If a letting agent or property manager fails to join one of the 3 approved schemes they can be subject to a £5000 fine from the local authority and, ultimately, be closed down if they continue to breach the legal requirement to join one of the schemes.
Wealden District Council has set a charge for non compliance at the maximum £5000 unless there are extenuating circumstances.
The Private Housing team will be actively looking to ensure all letting agents and property managers within the Wealden district area are a member of one of the approved schemes.