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Wild West Shakeup! Who's the Sheriff?

We are entering the 22nd day since the 'Wild West' was met with the legal requirement for all let...

We are entering the 22nd day since the ‘Wild West’ was met with the legal requirement for all letting and property management agents to belong to a property redress scheme. This movement has been long-called for by many letting agents as the industry has come under scrutiny due to rogue firms.
This requirement has been widely welcomed but the question is, who is the Redress Sheriff? The interpretation of ‘enforcement authority’ in the recent legislation means a district council, a London borough council, the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a local authority, or the Council of Isles of Scilly.

Letting agents: who are registered with TPO, what action do they need to take?
None - we’re completely covered! We’re fully compliant under the new legislation and no further action is needed. By registering with TPO we comply with the legal requirements by offering landlords and tenants a route to free, fair and impartial dispute resolution through the TPO redress scheme.

TPO is the largest scheme of its kind, with more than 11,500 lettings agents already registered with TPO and following the scheme’s unique Code of Practice, which represents best practice in the industry and has been proven to raise standards.

How will this new legislation be ‘policed’?
Trading Standards may well carry out random checks and mystery shops to ask agents to prove which scheme they are registered with, at which point you can provide them with a copy of your TPO membership certificate or unique membership number.

Any letting agent that has not signed up to an approved redress schemes will face a fine of up to £5,000.

Are you registered with an approved scheme?
Yes. We are registered with TPO, a government-approved redress scheme which is the largest of its kind with 65% of UK letting agents following TPO’s unique Code of Practice. Our membership with TPO means we fully comply with the legislation, which means in the event of a dispute arising, if you are unsatisfied with the result of our own investigation, you can have your complaint independently reviewed by the Property Ombudsman, which provides a free, fair and impartial service.

Are there any fees to pay for using TPO?
There are absolutely no fees or costs involved for a consumer to refer a complaint to the Ombudsman at TPO - regardless of how many complaints TPO reviews from a consumer. TPO is a not-for-profit organisation and is completely independent.

What is TPO?
TPO is the largest and longest-running property dispute resolution service – specialising solely in property redress. Their 24-years’ experience and unrivalled in-depth knowledge on all things property-related enables TPO to review complaints fairly and independently.

Further information about TPO and the complaints process can be found via www.tpos.co.uk, which also has a ‘Find a member’ tool where you can search for registered agents by company name, town and/or postcode.

Hopefully this change is not an example of another case of ‘hot-air' legislation.

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