Complaints

How To Complain About Your Letting Agent

As a landlord or tenant, you have the right to complain about your letting agent, providing the complaint is legitimate. All complaints are different, so it helps to know where to direct your complaint in order for it to be dealt with properly. We’ve put together examples of complaints you may have and how to properly report them.

First step of complaint

Always send your complaint to your letting agent (or landlord if you’re a tenant) first. This should be done through their internal complaints procedure. This is vitally important, as most complaints that you escalate to a higher authority will be ignored if you haven’t given your agent/landlord the chance to resolve them first.

Once your complaint has been sent, give the agent/landlord time to resolve them. If they do not respond, or if you are unhappy with their response, then you may wish to escalate the complaint to a higher authority.

Escalating your complaint

Who you escalate the complaint to and when you can escalate it depends on the nature of the complaint. For example, you can escalate the complaint to the Property Redress Scheme (if your agent is a member of it), but only if you are unhappy with the agent’s response, or haven’t received a response within eight weeks, and then you must complain to the Scheme within six months of your last communication with the agent.

Always check the complaints procedure of the organisation you’re complaining to, to give your complaint a higher chance of being resolved.

Who can I escalate my complaint to?

This depends on the nature of the complaint, but various organisations exist to deal with issues in the private rental sector.

Most complaints related to letting agents can be directed to either the Property Ombudsman (TPO) or the Property Redress Scheme (PRS), which exist as an intermediary between agents and a tenant or landlord, and offer compensation in some cases.

If the redress scheme doesn’t provide a satisfactory result either and the agent is ARLA Propertymark Protected, then you escalate the complaint to Propertymark as well.

Cases where you believe your letting agent is acting illegally can usually be reported to Trading Standards.

Health and safety issues with the property should usually be reported to your local authority. Complaints should be directed to the Tenancy Relations Officer of your local authority where possible.

It’s important to know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or tenant, so you know what you can complain about and who can resolve it.

Examples of complaints

Below are examples of complaints you may have towards a letting agent, and where you should escalate the complaint if you are not satisfied with the agent’s response.

ComplaintWho it affectsWho to escalate the complaint to
The agent advertised a property, but when requested for viewing, they instead showed a more expensive property of lower quality Tenants Trading Standards
The agent is not a member of a redress scheme Tenants / landlords Trading Standards
The agent does not have Client Money Protection (CMP) Tenants / landlords Trading Standards
There are unfair/illegal clauses in the agent’s agreements/contracts Tenants / landlords Redress Scheme / First Tier Tribunal (Scotland)
The agent is charging unfair/illegal fees Tenants Redress Scheme
The agent has unfairly deducted money from the deposit Tenants Deposit protection scheme
The agent has arranged visits to the property without 24 hours notice or permission Tenants Redress Scheme / First Tier Tribunal
The agent has lied about their qualifications/their membership of ARLA Propertymark Tenants / landlords Redress Scheme or Propertymark
The agent has recommended a tenant with false/no referencing Landlords Redress Scheme
The agent is attempting an eviction without a Section 8 or Section 21 notice Tenants Trading Standards / First Tier Tribunal
The agent is engaging in threatening/harassing behaviour Tenants / landlords Trading Standards / Police (if you feel unsafe)
The agent has not displayed the correct fees on their website Tenants / landlords ASA or Trading Standards
The agent has provided false reports or not undertaken agreed inspections of the property Tenants / landlords Redress Scheme
The agent has not protected the deposit in an approved tenancy deposit scheme Tenants / landlords County Court / First-Tier Tribunal
There has been a clear lack of communication from the agent throughout the tenancy. Tenants / landlords Redress Scheme
The agent has not provided an EPC for the property Tenants Trading Standards
The agent is charging unreasonably high rent Tenants First Tier Tribunal, Residential Property Tribunal or Rent Assessment Panel
The property is unsafe/not fit for human habitation Tenants Local Authority / County Court
The property has no gas safety certificate/annual gas safety check Tenants HSE
The property has faulty/dangerous electrical appliances or wiring Tenants Local Authority
The property does not follow fire safety regulations e.g. smoke alarm on each storey, access to escape routes, fire alarms/extinguishers in House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) Tenants Local Authority

Outcome of your complaint

Once you have escalated the complaint, the relevant organisation will determine whether to rule in your favour or the letting agent’s. If they rule in your favour, you could be entitled to compensation, your letting agent may be fined or disciplined and any repairs/alterations required for the property may be enforced.

Picking the right agent

A good letting agent will be well aware of their responsibilities and legislation, meaning they will ensure that they are following the law and work hard to keep both landlord and tenant happy while managing the property.

By choosing an ARLA Propertymark Protected agent, not only do you know that your agent is backed by all the required legal schemes and are professionally qualified; but in the rare instance where you might have a complaint, we can investigate it further.

Use the links below to head to the different authorities where escalated complaints can be made. Be sure to use the examples above to help direct your complaint to the correct organisation.

RELATED ARTICLES

letting agents

How to Choose a Letting Agent

When selecting a letting agent, it’s important you can trust they will help you find the perfect property within your budget. Read more...

letting agent logos

Guide to Agent Logos

This guide goes through the logos you're likely to come across when looking for a letting agent, including which ones your agent should definitely be showing and what they all mean for you. Read more...

 Find an Expert

Find an Expert

Search for a Propertymark Protected expert to ensure your rented home is in safe and reliable hands. More info...