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.
It's been a confusing few weeks for Landlords and agents with regards to the new electrical safety standards. Here's the low down.
COVID is still well rooted in the UK, and therefore it's not just a case of simply heading back to the office and booking appointments.
Subject to any official announcements this looks like we will be able to work as 'normal' whilst observing social distancing measures.
Landlords must not grant or renew a tenancy after 1st April where the EPC rating is lower than an 'E'.