LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

Councils checking up on agents, claims new redress scheme

Councils checking up on agents, claims new redress scheme

The Property Redress Scheme (PRS) claims it is being actively contacted by local authorities, questioning whether lettings and property management agents in their area have joined up.

The PRS is one of three consumer redress schemes authorised by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that offers a free escalated complaints process to customers of Members of the scheme. The other two are The Property Ombudsman and Ombudsman Services Property.

All lettings and property management agents, as defined by legislation, must have joined a government authorised consumer redress scheme by 1 October 2014.

These council enquiries come as the DCLG provides further guidance on exactly which types of property agents are legally required to join a consumer redress scheme.

Following the passing of the 1 October deadline, the PRS has received enquiries from councils including Norfolk County, Staffordshire County and the London Borough of Newham wishing to ensure that known agents in their areas have complied with the new regulation and have become a member. Councils such as Hartlepool Borough and Plymouth City have also written to their agents warning them of their obligations under the new legislation.

Local authority Trading Standards officers can impose a fine of up to £5,000 on non-compliant agents and can even force closure of firms that continue to be in breach of the law. 

The PRS has so far seen over 1,600 agents successfully join its scheme.