Rossendale Council, at a recent Council meeting has backed the government’s “Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management” which aims to bring the private rented sector under stricter controls.
Dan O’Donoghue reporting in the Rossendale Free Press says Council chiefs have formerly backed the new government scheme which will to crack down on poor quality property letting.
The scheme which commenced from 1st October 2014 means that all businesses involved in letting or property management will have to enrol in one of a number of approved schemes unless they are already covered by an appropriate redress scheme through one of the professional associations such as RICS –
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Failure or businesses to comply will be enforced by local authority trading standards departments and will lead to a fine.
There are 30 businesses in the Valley undertaking letting agency work says the Free Rossendale Press and according to Rossendale council ‘several have very little knowledge of what their roles and responsibilities entail’.
Where a complaint is made by a tenant (and this goes for landlords too) of a private sector property managed by a letting agency or a managing agent, the Director of Business at Rossendale Council will now have the power to order an apology, issue a reprimand, order compensation, and also fine a member or expel a member from the redress scheme.
Agent members of the redress schemes will be bound by the decision and if expelled they are likely to be refused access to membership of another scheme, effectively jeopardising their businesses.
The amounts payable under the schemes is to be capped at £25,000 and for aggrieved parties there is the option of seeking additional damages through the courts.
In her report to Rossendale council’s cabinet committee, council officer Rebecca Lawlor has said:
“It is anticipated that through the enforcement of this new legislation some new income may be generated from those persons that flout the law.
“Enforcing this legislation gives the Council another tool to improve standards, drive out Rogue Landlords; and improve the reputation of the Private Rented Sector in Rossendale.”
Most landlords of course will not be affected by these schemes unless it can be shown that they are acting in the capacity of a letting or managing agent. However, landlords will be in the same position as tenants when it comes to making complaints about their agents.
More information about the schemes can be found here:
The three Government approved schemes are:
– The Property Ombudsman,
– Ombudsman Services Property and
– The Property Redress Scheme.
They will offer independent investigation of complaints about hidden fees or poor service. Where a complaint is upheld, tenants and lease holders could receive compensation.
The contact details of these Schemes are as follows: The Property Ombudsman Scheme 0172 233 3306 or by visiting the website: www.tpos.co.uk
The Ombudsman Services: Property 0330 440 1634 or by visiting the website: www.ombudsman-services.org/property
The Property Redress Scheme: 0208 275 7131 or by visiting the website: www.theprs.co.uk
Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management here