More good news for tenants
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has pledged to offer private sector tenants greater rights, by making it compulsory for private landlords to sign up to an ombudsman redress scheme. Currently, private landlords are not checked to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do, to ensure the safety and security of their tenants. Under the new initiative, The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, hopes to improve the dispute resolution system for renters. The Government will also legislate to ensure all letting agents are registered too.
Having been in the property industry for most of my life, all too often I have heard about problems faced by tenants as a result of rogue letting agents and landlords. Issues include insecure tenure, unfair fees or poor treatment. I have long been calling for the government to bring in more legislation to tackle this subject, so am delighted to hear that that the industry is moving one step further towards that goal.
However, we are a long way away from ensuring integrity is amongst all. Not everybody is rogue, obviously, but I will always remind tenants to use a letting agent rather than go to a landlord directly, and to take care when choosing one. This is to ensure, for example, that their home is safe and in a good state of repair, to have their deposit returned, to live there undisturbed and be able to avoid excessively high charges. So do your research. Look for years of experience, a good reputation and membership of a professional body such as The Property Ombudsman or The Guild of Property Professionals as Members must comply with a strict code of conduct. It’s just not worth the risk.