New rules give better protection to tenants

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Tenants can gain further confidence when renting privately in South Kesteven with agents being required to join a redress scheme.

The vast majority of landlords and letting agents in the district provide a good quality service to those looking for a home in the private rented sector. However, tenants and leaseholders are now further protected through government rules where agents must now join one of three national redress schemes, to hold them accountable when property issues arise.

The schemes ensure standards are maintained and provide tenants with guidance if they feel they are receiving a poor deal.

The schemes run by The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property and the Property Redress Scheme offer independent investigation into complaints about hidden fees or poor service. Where a complaint is upheld, tenants and leaseholders could receive compensation.

The schemes are designed to assist a bigger, better private rented sector and give greater protection without excessive regulation that would potentially harm tenants, landlords and agents.

In September last year a new code of practice was published making clear the legal requirements of landlords and letting agents alike, leaving them clear about their responsibilities to their tenants.

SKDC’s portfolio holder for good housing Councillor Terl Bryant said: “Most letting gents provide a very good service but this legislation ensures in the small number of cases where people have complaints, these should be addressed quickly and effectively.

“Tenants can now gain the extra confidence that they are getting a fair deal and we can start to build a bigger better private rented sector putting power in the hands of tenants without harming the sector with excessive regulation and red tape.

“When renting a property tenants simply need to ask which redress scheme the agent is part of, to gain the peace of mind they are dealing with a reputable firm.”

Prospective tenants can also check if an agent is registered to one of the schemes by checking the scheme operators’ websites where they list their members.

The government is also introducing new legislation to require letting agents to publish a full tariff of their fees ensuring that tenants have full upfront knowledge of what they will be charged.

Other new measures to give tenants more confidence and provide clarity about their rights include a new model tenancy agreement which landlords and tenants can use for longer tenancies if they wish.

There’s also a how to rent guide which helps tenants understand what they should expect from their rental deal and how they can take action if they are the victim of poor standards of accommodation.

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