It is currently a legal requirement that an Agent be a member of one of three redress schemes before being allowed to offer related services. The current available schemes are The Property Ombudsman, The Property Redress Scheme, and Ombudsman Services (who are no longer accepting new members). With the governments focus firmly on the sector, they have recently announced that they intend to overhaul redress in the industry.
Following a consultation last year there was demand for greater clarity for the consumer and a more streamlined route for redress. In the consultation 'Propertymark' (an industry regulator) called for the creation of a single portal and a unified code of practice for all housing providers. In its response, the Government stated ‘provide simple access for consumers to redress, via a single user interface regardless of tenure, while retaining the specialist expertise of the different schemes'.
The reform will see the creation of a 'New Homes Ombudsman' with legislation later being created to require developers to join. In addition all private Landlords will be required to join a redress scheme or face a fine of £5,000.
There is currently no date set for the new 'Housing Complaints Service', but I expect that there will be more news throughout 2019.
Concerns have been voiced by the industry following an announcement made by the government relating to the abolition of AST'
We will finally have a regulator with the power and funding to be able to truly increase standards and drive out rogue agents.
Social and private landlords (or agents) will now be required to ensure that a property and its common areas are fit for human habitation.
There are many things to consider when renting out a property. If in doubt, employ an ARLA Propertymark agent to look after your property.