Press Releases

UKALA Lead the Way on Letting Agent Redress

UKALA LEAD THE WAY ON LETTING AGENT REDRESS

The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) has selected Ombudsman Services as its redress provider, ahead of important legislative changes that will grant both tenants and landlords the right to independent redress if their agent fails to resolve a complaint.

The new law, part of the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Act, will mean all letting agents in England must belong to a government approved property redress scheme when the requirement is implemented in the autumn.

UKALA LEAD THE WAY ON LETTING AGENT REDRESS

The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) has selected Ombudsman Services as its redress provider, ahead of important legislative changes that will grant both tenants and landlords the right to independent redress if their agent fails to resolve a complaint.

The new law, part of the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Act, will mean all letting agents in England must belong to a government approved property redress scheme when the requirement is implemented in the autumn.

Ombudsman Services, one of the leading providers of independent redress in the property sector and with over 12 years’ experience of dealing with property disputes, has received government approval to operate a scheme under the new legislation.

The partnership will mean that all UKALA members will automatically comply with the forthcoming legislative requirements well in advance of its implementation, as well as benefitting from the usual perks of UKALA membership, which include:

  • Free online development and CPD
  • Client Money Protection insurance
  • Membership of the National Landlords Association (NLA) Recognised Supplier Scheme

 

Agents upfront about fees, say tenants

The partnership is announced as new UKALA research* reveals that the majority of tenants say letting agents are upfront about the fees they would need to pay to secure their tenancy.

Letting agent fees is a topic that has come under close scrutiny in the past, but UKALA’s latest research findings show that four out of five (81%) tenants say their letting agent explained what fees they would be required to pay at the beginning of the tenancy, either comprehensively (50%), or in part (31%).

However, one in 10 tenants (10%) say their agent did not explain what fees they’d be required to pay from the outset and a further nine per cent couldn’t recall what information they received in relation to tenancy charges.

Richard Price, UKALA Executive Director, commented: “Our research findings suggest the majority of agents are upfront with their tenants about the fees they charge at the outset of the tenancy. However, we recognise that there are many other causes for disputes between agents and their clients, and that more can be done to strengthen redress in the private rented sector when issues occur.

“At UKALA we lead the way and we want to reassure our members – and all letting agents in England – that complying with the forthcoming changes will be as simple as possible and that we’re on hand to support them.

“Importantly, our partnership with Ombudsman Services means that UKALA members need not worry and will automatically comply with the new provisions when implemented in England later this year.”

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman says:

“We are delighted that UKALA has recognised the value and quality of our model of independent redress and are proud to be providing the dispute resolution service for them.

“This is good news for both landlords and tenants in the private rented sector who can be confident that we will help if there is a problem that their letting or managing agent cannot resolve. Our service is free for the complainant and easy to use.”

 

– ENDS –

*UKALA Tenant Panel research, December 2013 – 647 online respondents. Research findings include tenants with both UKALA and non UKALA agents.

 

For further information, please contact:

Sam Haidar
Senior Press Officer, UKALA
0207 840 8925
press@ukala.org.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS:

About UKALA:

The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) is a trade association representing businesses which facilitate the rental of private residential property in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. All revenues generated are used by the association to support and benefit its members.

 

UKALA exists to support letting agents who are committed to improving conditions in the private rented sector. UKALA membership requires all applicants to be vetted against UKALA safeguards, and only if the following four requirements are met can lettings agencies become members and be covered by UKALA’s CMP insurance.

  1. Written confirmation from their bank that they have a clearly segregated client money account.
  2. Written confirmation from their accountant(s) that their business finances are in order.
  3. Proof of a minimum level of Professional Indemnity Insurance, to be confirmed by Hamilton Fraser Insurance (HFIS) at the time of application.

Once accepted agent members are required to abide by the UKALA Scheme Rules and Code of Practice; to ensure the highest standards of professionalism and an assurance of quality in residential lettings for both landlords and tenants. 

 

 

UKALA is dedicated to continuously improving conditions in the private rented sector, by ensuring that landlords and tenants are treated fairly and that best practice is understood and adhered to in residential lettings. www.ukala.org.uk