New scheme of­fers pro­tec­tion for ten­ants

Macclesfield Express - - HOMES -

EAR­LIER this month new gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion came into force that is set to have an im­por­tant im­pact on the res­i­den­tial let­tings mar­ket.

As from Oc­to­ber 1, all let­tings and prop­erty man­age­ment agents will mir­ror es­tate agents in join­ing a gov­ern­men­tau­tho­rised Con­sumer Re­dress Scheme.

From this date it will be a crim­i­nal of­fence for agents not to be­long to a con­sumer re­dress scheme and fail­ure to do so could re­sult in a £5,000 fine.

There are cur­rently three re­dress schemes avail­able to join, The Prop­erty Om­buds­man, Om­buds­man Ser­vices Prop­erty and the Prop­erty Re­dress Scheme.

A new vol­un­tary code of prac­tice has also been de­vel­oped and is­sued by lead­ing in­dus­try bod­ies: the Royal In­sti­tute of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (RICS); the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Es­tate Agents (NAEA); the As­so­ci­a­tion of Res­i­den­tial Let­ting Agents (ARLA); and The Na­tional ap­proved Let­tings Scheme (NALS).

Is­sued by such lead­ing in­dus­try ex­perts and agreed by the ma­jor stake­hold­ers as a code that rep­re­sents good prac­tice, it is ex­pected that mem­bers of all pro­fes­sional or­gan­i­sa­tions will ac­cept and ad­here to the vol­un­tary code.

The in­tro­duc­tion of the code is de­signed not only to drive up stan­dards within the in­dus­try, but also re­duce con­sumer com­plaints by en­sur­ing agents have clear stan­dards and guide­lines to follow.

If agents do fail to deal with com­plaints in a pro­fes­sional and timely man­ner, then the com­pul­sory re­dress schemes will now pro­vide the con­sumer with an es­ca­lated com­plaints pro­ce­dure.

Com­plaints can be sub­mit­ted to the re­dress schemes if the con­sumer does not ac­cept an agent’s fi­nal re­sponse to their com­plaint, or an agent has failed to re­spond to a com­plaint within eight weeks.

Ry­der and Dut­ton Es­tate Agents is a mem­ber of each of those in­dus­try bod­ies.

Di­rec­tor Richard Pow­ell FRICS said: “Hav­ing spe­cialised in let­tings for many years, Ry­der and Dut­ton wel­comes the in­tro­duc­tion of such a re­dress schemes.

“It will pro­tect con­sumers and raise stan­dards.

“We par­tic­u­larly wel­come the new Pri­vate Sec­tor Code of Prac­tice pub­lished by the RICS, which pro­vides a model for best prac­tice.

“Land­lords and ten­ants should en­sure they choose an agent who has signed up to this code.’’

Let­tings fees have also been in the spot­light re­cently as char­i­ties such as Shel­ter, the hous­ing and home­less char­ity, has ex­pressed its con­cerns over ex­ces­sive ap­pli­ca­tion fees.

In re­sponse, Ry­der and Dut­ton has taken steps to be­come more so­cially re­spon­si­ble by of­fer­ing all its ten­ants a free preap­pli­ca­tion credit check.

With this ser­vice ten­ants are able to ob­tain an ini­tial pass of the nec­es­sary fi­nan­cial checks.

This will es­tab­lish if they are able to pro­ceed with their ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore they in­cur any costs.

The Depart­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment has is­sued a new How to Rent guide aimed at peo­ple who are look­ing for a house or flat to rent.

This of­fers a com­pre­hen­sive ex­pla­na­tion of the process and over­view of both land­lord and ten­ant re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

A copy of the web link or a printed copy of the guide is avail­able on re­quest from any Ry­der and Dut­ton of­fice.


●» New gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion has come into force for res­i­den­tial let­tings

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