Slough Borough Council’s cabinet has approved a recommendation to fine letting agents who haven’t signed up to a government scheme which allows tenants and landlords to make complaints about them.
As part of the government’s redress schemes, trading standards officers at the council will be able to issue those agents who have not signed up to one of three schemes with a fixed penalty notice of up to £5,000.
There are three government approved redress schemes which help to resolve disputes between letting agents and their customers. They are:
• The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
• The Property Redress Scheme
• Ombudsman Services:Property
All lettings agents must sign up to one of these schemes and display the name of the scheme they belong to in their offices and on their website. Failure to do so will result in a fine.
If tenants or landlords feel there are not getting anywhere with a complaint to their letting agent, they can take it further by reporting the agent to the redress scheme they have signed up to.
Complaints can be made about things such as hidden fees, rudeness and avoidable delays. A tenant cannot complain about things that are the responsibility of the landlord, unless the agent has contributed to the problem.
Cllr Pavitar K. Mann, cabinet member for consumer protection and regulation, said: “The redress schemes allow tenants and landlords to complain to an independent person about the service they are receiving.
“Putting in place a fine for letting agents who are not part of a scheme sends out a warning to those agents who flaunt the law and don’t take seriously the complaints of tenants and landlords who are on their books.”