Agents must be registered with an independent organisation for dealing with complaints. The logo of the complaints redress scheme they belong to must be displayed.
If your agent does not treat you fairly and with respect, you can complain to their ‘redress scheme’. The redress scheme can investigate your complaint and order the agent to change their behaviour or pay you compensation. If the agent does not do what they say, they can disqualify the agent – which makes it illegal for them to trade.
Three different organisations investigate complaints against lettings agents, and your agent can decide which scheme to join:
- The Property Ombudsman (TPO) (logo – and hyperlinked to the organisation)
- The Property Redress Scheme (logo – and hyperlinked to the organisation)
- Ombudsman Services Property (logo – and hyperlinked to the organisation)
Every letting agent must belong to one of these ‘complaints redress schemes’. The agent must display clearly which scheme it belongs to.
The council can fine agents up to £5,000 for not belonging to one of these schemes, or for not displaying which scheme they belong to, or for falsely displaying membership of a scheme which they do not belong to.
For further information about your rights when dealing with letting agents please see:
What if an agent is not displaying their membership of a redress scheme?
The council can fine agents £5,000 if they do not properly display their membership of a redress scheme. If your agent is not displaying a logo, or if you discover they are displaying a logo of a scheme do not belong to, please report them to Trading Standards. We promise that within 28 days of receiving a report we will let you know what action we are taking.
To report an agent to Trading Standards, you just call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline and tell them you want to report a letting agent to Tower Hamlets Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards if it's appropriate.
Citizens Advice consumer helpline
Telephone: 03454 04 05 06
Textphone: 18001 03454 04 05 06
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Closed on bank holidays.
Calls to the helpline cost up to 9p per minute from a landline. If you're calling from a mobile, it'll cost between 3p and 40p per minute - if you have inclusive minutes, it's the same as calling a landline. Find out more about call charges.
An adviser will answer your call as soon as possible, usually within a few minutes. Once you're speaking to an adviser your call should take an average of 8 to 10 minutes.
Be prepared to tell the adviser details of the problem and the company’s name and address.
You can also use an online form or write to the consumer helpline - make sure you mention that you want to report a trader to Trading Standards.
Trading Standards might contact you for more information and evidence. Depending on what we find out, we might take action to stop the agent from acting unfairly. For example we might educate the agent about the law or take legal action against them to stop them from trading completely. We may also fine them - the council can fine agents up to £5,000 for not belonging to one of these schemes, or for not displaying which scheme they belong to, or for falsely displaying membership of a scheme which they do not belong to.
If you want advice or help at any stage you can contact any of the organisations signed up to the Charter. We all promise to find the best way to improve your situation - and the most effective action to take against landlords or agents who break the rules.