VP Welfare is back with an update on the housing situation.
What to do if you’re not happy with your letting agent
I contacted the ARLA which is a “self-regulatory organization by voluntary subscription of its membership”. They have some code of practice and rules which an agent should act within (view them here).
“Should you wish to pursue a complaint against an agent that is a member of the NAEA/ARLA, as a pre-requisite, you are required to exhaust the agent’s internal complaints handling procedures, which should be made available to you upon written request. If the Ombudsman investigates, and upholds your complaint or part thereof, and you wish to progress matters further in terms of a NFOPP disciplinary investigation” – The National Federation of Property Professionals Regulation
Then I contacted the Ombudsman and there is not very much they can do about adding fees and changes to rent.
“If your complaint is not regarding a commercial decision made by the firm, there are certain criteria which must be met before we can consider a complaint. Our terms of reference state that you must have exhausted the firm’s internal complaints handling procedure and more than eight weeks must have passed before we can investigate a complaint. The eight weeks start from the date that you first contacted the firm to make it aware of the problem.” – Ombudsman Services Property
They do have some very useful advice, which is:
“Please keep copies of your correspondence, as this is your evidence to support your version of events and to confirm that you have escalated your complaint in accordance with the firm’s complaints handling procedure.” – Ombudsman Services Property
Keep a record of every phone call you make, who you talk to, the time and date. Keep all letters and emails.
So you have a few options if you’re unhappy. You could contact your landlord and let them know what the agent is doing and how it affects you (for example, what your current bills cost compared to the new fee and if you will be able to stay there due to the change in price). By law you can have the landlord’s name and an address for them within the UK.
Request in writing the agent’s complaints procedure and complain about the changes.
Finally write to your MP:
Sarah Newton (taken from her blog) “[..] will continue working with ministerial colleagues, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall Residential Landlords Association to secure a better deal for all tenants in 2014.”
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.
If you feel as disgruntled as this cat then it’s time to tell your MP, tell your landlord and use the letting agent’s complaints procedure.
Frankie Boyd, VP Welfare