New legislation has been introduced which means that from 1 October 2014 it is a legal requirement for all lettings agents and property managers in England to join one of three Government-approved redress schemes.
Whilst the majority of lettings agents and property managers provide a good service there are a minority who offer a poor service and engage in unacceptable practices. This requirement will mean that tenants and landlords with agents in the private rented sector and leaseholders and freeholders dealing with property managers in the residential sector will be able to complain to an independent person about the service they have received. Ultimately the requirement to belong to a redress scheme will help weed out bad agents and property managers and drive up standards.
The requirement will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where an agent or property manager who should have joined a scheme has not done so.
This Department of Communities and Local Government leaflet below provides information about the requirement and who it applies to. It is designed to cover the most common situations but it cannot cover every scenario and is not a substitute for reading the Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc)(England) Order 2014 (SI 2014 No. 2359)
There are three Government approved redress schemes:
Each scheme will publish a list of members on their respective websites so it will be possible to check whether a lettings agent or property manager has joined one of the schemes.