Letting agents in the UK have a very poor reputation. Everyone from students to families reports astonishing stories of rudeness, unreasonable rental fees and, in the worst cases, extreme neglect.
So, why is the problem so pronounced? Well, until now there has been very little regulation in the property letting market. In reality, anyone can register a company name and set themself up as a letting agent. If you choose to do business with them you will be bound by their own operating terms and conditions.
More rights for renters
Thankfully, this is looking like it will start to become a thing of the past. The UK Housing Minister, Mark Prisk, has recently announced that there will be a letting agent ombudsman to enable those renting property to pursue some form of redress if they feel they’ve been mistreated by their letting agent.
Though this is clearly an important step in the right direction, many have pointed out that it’s a step that is long overdue. Another criticism of the announcement is that it is still unclear what powers the letting agent ombudsman will actually have? Will they impose fines or completely ban letting agents from trading?
There are many who have been calling for this step for years. As a result, it’s not surprising that they are now calling for the next step to be taken. In their opinion, the job won’t be complete until there is a recognised governing body which licences, trains and regulates all letting agents in England and Wales. Will this happen in the near future? Who knows, but this first step certainly makes it more of a possibility that it has seemed in recent years.