Latest News

More tenants than ever seek housing as rental stock dwindles

25 February 2020

ARLA Propertymark’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) report shows that the demand for rental accommodation has reached a record high in January, with an average of 88 prospective tenants registered per member branch. Read More...

No change to Right to Rent despite new UK points-based system

21 February 2020

The UK Government has announced that from 1 January 2021, free movement will end, and they will introduce the UK’s Points-Based System but they are still no closer to confirming plans for the future of Right to Rent checks after Britain leaves the EU. Read More...

Custodial or Insured, which scheme comes out on top?

17 February 2020

Propertymark Industry Supplier, Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) reveal the most popular type of tenancy deposit protection scheme. Read More...

£16 million funding to go to survivors of domestic violence

17 February 2020

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed that 75 councils across England will benefit from funding to help boost their domestic abuse refuge services. Read More...

Christopher Pincher is tenth Housing Minister in a decade

14 February 2020

Christopher Pincher MP has been appointed Housing Minister in the cabinet reshuffle replacing Esther McVey. Mr Pincher is the MP for Tamworth and was previously the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas. Read More...

Professionals and public warned over rogue agencies

Friday 13 December 2019

Three agencies have been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to deliver on payments that were instructed by them.

Buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords across the UK are being warned of these agencies:

  • Let365co trading as 365 Residential who owes a landlord £1,895 of a £3,800 award made by the Ombudsman
  • JBE London trading as JBE London, which owes a tenant £2,810
  • Chew Valley Estates in Bristol which owes a landlord £5,200.

365 Residential had a landlord make a complaint in relation to shortcomings in their service, who managed his 19 properties. On reviewing the complaint, the Ombudsman supported the landlord’s case noting that the agent had failed to obtain, or take all reasonable steps to obtain:

  • Gas Safety Certificates for two properties
  • Maintain records of periodic inspections carried out at all the properties
  • Provide the landlord with a signed Tenancy Agreement for one property
  • Carry out or provide the landlord with inventories for 15 of the properties
  • Failed to respond to a complaint letter regarding one of the properties. 

The Ombudsman made a total award of £3,800 to reflect the avoidable aggravation caused to the landlord.

JBE London owes a tenant £2,810. The tenant made a complaint about the re-letting fee she had been charged by them and also complained about the agent not providing her with the landlord's contact details, of poor communication and rudeness, not dealing with repair and maintenance issues and not providing her with assistance in getting her deposit back.

The tenant moved out of the property early and was required to pay a re-letting fee to cover marketing and administration. However, an email from JBE London had stated that if it found a replacement tenant then the £995 would be fully refunded. This caused subsequent confusion when another instructed agent found the replacement tenant and the agent sought to retain the money. 

The Ombudsman did not consider it reasonable that the agent had to retain the full amount given the level of work that they had undertaken and said that JBE London were to refund £500 of the £995 fee. TPO also awarded £300 for avoidable aggravation, and a further £2,010 for a deposit which had been disputed. 

The third, Chew Valley Estates in Bristol, owes a landlord £5,200 who made several complaints including:

  • Failing to pass on rent of £4,800 from tenants to the complainant
  • Failing to arrange the security deposit to be transferred into the complainant's name when they terminated the instruction
  • Misleading the complainant regarding an offer the sitting tenants had made to purchase the property. 

The Ombudsman supported the case and a direction was made for Chew Valley Estates to refund the complainant the £4,800 rent owed as well as £400 for the shortcomings in communication, which had resulted in the complainant suffering unnecessary aggravation. 

REDRESS SCHEME GUIDANCE

  • Make sure that your business is signed up with an approved redress scheme for the correct line of work (sales, lettings or property management work).
  • Review your existing terms of agreement/membership to ensure your redress scheme covers the full activities of the business.
  • Check the terms of agreement/membership to confirm if your business is required to pay membership for individual branches.
  • As of 1 April 2019, letting and property management agents in the private rented sector are required to belong to a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme if holding client money. 

PROPERTYMARK CMP RESOURCES AND FURTHER INFORMATION

A detailed and comprehensive Fact Sheet can be accessed in the Member’s Area. A Client Money Protection (CMP) leaflet can be downloaded to send to your clients and hard copies are available from our online shop too.

The Government has approved CMP schemes for letting and property management agents in the private rented sector, and they include:

Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) report recommendations

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) released a report on the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA) proposing a new regulatory framework to cover estate agents across the UK and letting and managing agents in England only.

Propertymark has long called for Government intervention to ensure everyone in the industry is licensed, adheres to a strict code of practice and holds at least a Level 3 qualification (the level equivalent to an A-level). It offers huge potential to stamp out bad practice and raise professional standards.

There are substantial changes ahead which will require agents to start preparing to ensure they are well placed for when the proposed qualification and regulatory requirements are introduced.

The working group's announcement is good news for raising professional standards in the industry. The focus of is to get all practising agents on the path to qualification and comply with the regulations. Register to have regular updates on the recommendations in an easy to understand framework.

Register