Coming soon – Landlords forced to join a redress scheme
Letting Agents have been required to join a government consumer redress scheme since October 2014. The purpose of this is to give consumers an escalated complaints procedure if they are not satisfied with how their complaint has been dealt with by their Letting Agent. There are currently two redress schemes in the UK, these being The Property Ombudsman or The Property Redress Scheme.
However, the government has recently announced plans to launch a new Housing Complaints Resolution Service in 2019 which will act as a single point of contact for tenants looking to raise disputes against their landlords. All Landlords will need to sign up to the service or face fines of up to £5,000.
The charity Citizens Advice has welcomed the news stating that it has helped on 14,000 issues about repair and maintenance in the last 12 months – the largest single cause of complaint from private sector tenants coming to the organisation. Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice states “This single portal for renters to solve their problems – which landlords must legally join – is great news. However, it’s important the Housing Complaints Resolution Service is free, easy to navigate and protects renters from ‘revenge eviction’ if they complain and offered free of charge for tenants to use
When Housing minister James Brokenshire first broke the news of this proposal it looked as if Landlords would be exempt if they were using a Letting Agent to manage their property, however this has been updated to apply to all Landlords which has sparked controversy from the Lettings Industry as it financially impacts Landlords whose tenants already have access though the agent to a redress scheme.
These plans are part of a suite of government proposals to improve the avenues of redress available to homeowners and tenants. It’s not yet clear when the rules will come into force. We shall of course keep all our Landlords notified once the proposals are heading though parliament.