Millions of tenants will get a better deal under new regulations for landlords and letting agents, the government has announced today.
The rules include a compulsory redress scheme for letting and property management agents, ensuring tenants’ complaints about hidden fees and poor service are investigated independently.
The new redress scheme, which the government plans to be implemented by Spring 2014, will mean that consumers can complain where agents are not being upfront about fees.
The rules follow evidence given by Which? to the Select Committee in March this year following our undercover investigation into letting agents.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: ‘Making charges clear upfront will enable people to shop around more easily, and longer tenancies could mark the end of unnecessary renewal fees.
‘The new legislation giving landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme now needs to be brought in as soon as possible and there must be strong action taken against any agent in breach of the scheme.’
If you have a complaint about your landlord, use our guide to help you.
Wider changes in the lettings market
Under the new plans, private tenants will now be able to:
- Avoid hidden fees from unscrupulous letting agents
- Get proper protection from rogue landlords
- Can request long-term rental deals that cut costs and provide stability for their family
- Feel confident to demand better standards and management of their property by landlords
After continued lobbying, Which? is pleased the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, to be implemented in Spring 2014, is going to give all landlords and tenants (who rent through an agent) access to a complaints scheme.
This will mean that 40% of agents who currently aren’t signed up to a redress scheme will have to become members.
If you don’t feel your letting agent has done their job properly, follow our step-by-step guide for to help you get redress.
Unexpected rental charges
The Which? letting agents investigation earlier this year found that major letting agents were acting unlawfully by not being upfront about the fees charged to clients.
This meant renters were facing unexpected charges, were unable to properly compare prices and didn’t always know what they are signing up to until it was too late.
The government’s charter states that lettings agents must tell people what all their fees are upfront and before they have committed to anything, including visiting a property.