Agency not a redress scheme member and Trading Standards okay about it!

by Readers Question

13:06 PM, 9th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Agency not a redress scheme member and Trading Standards okay about it!

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Agency not a redress scheme member and Trading Standards okay about it!

I reported an agency for not being a member of a redress scheme (they’ve been in business for over 30 years). It all came to light when an ex-tenant of mine left to rent a property from this agency, who messed her about and has ended up back with me.rules

I told her she should make a complaint to their redress scheme, which was when and how the discovery was made.

Trading Standards have just contacted me back to let me know they have spoken to the owner (who will now apparently be joining one of the schemes), but the TS woman said, “I am happy with the explanation they have given [as to why they aren’t/haven’t been a member].”

What possible reason could they have given that was anything like satisfactory? All agents HAD to join by October LAST year. There can simply be no reasonable defence to that, surely!

‘Sorry I didn’t know’ shouldn’t be considered acceptable, so what else could they have possibly said?

Naturally TS wouldn’t tell me what they said and almost became hostile as though I had done something wrong. I mentioned that I still wish to make a complaint (or rather my tenant does), but all she could say was that they have been advised of ‘the most appropriate schemes to join’.

Where’s peoples’ access to redress in the meantime?

I feel like with all of the extra legislation, I, as an agent, should just not bother and wait until/if I am challenged, only then to be given 28 days to comply…at least I save any fees or the expense of any costs up until that point.

Just another snippet of evidence that enforcement is just not happening in the BTL PRS.

Has anyone else had similar experiences?

Luke



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:11 PM, 9th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Luke,

I had not heard of this before and I had assumed there were some consequences!

You try and do everything properly and it makes you despair and wonder why you bother some times.

Kelly Joanna

10:53 AM, 10th December 2015
About 3 years ago

It's at Trading Standards Discretion as to whether they bring a case against this agency. Despite the agents short falls in this instance, their experience and conduct over the last thirty years probably warranted the lax outcome.

Paul Franklin

11:03 AM, 10th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Different districts will deal with it differently, in some areas it will be trading standards at county councils, in others it will be district councils.

Each will have their won policy on how they are enforcing the redress scheme order. Some will issue fines immediately, others may give periods of grace for agents to comply. There is a duty on local authorities to enforce the regs, but no requirement on how to enforce.

It will depend on individual area's resources and political stance too, some districts will naturally be more stringent than others. Unfortunately it seems you may be in a more lenient area?

Luke P

11:28 AM, 10th December 2015
About 3 years ago

A lot of my frustration was around the comment, "I am happy with the explanation they have given."

NO explanation should be satisfactory, regardless of whether TS choose to enforce or not. At very least they should be disappointed with the agency, sympathetic towards me and definitely not on the verges of hostility!

As a rival, I am at a competitive disadvantage and this is a poor show from TS.

Separately I happen to know of a number of questionable practices by the agency and put my faith in 'the system' ousting these types. It seems I am a fool.

DALE ROBERTS

12:45 PM, 10th December 2015
About 3 years ago

My experience as a buy-to-let investor is, even if you choose a managing agent who belongs to schemes like the Property Ombudsman or a government recognised deposit scheme, if they flout the law and subsequently close down - no action will be taken against such company BECAUSE they have closed down. And this attitude is maintained even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the company is still trading from the same premises with the same staff but has merely affected a cosmetic name change. I refer specifically here to the fiasco of Oliver-Knights - proudly encouraged and supported by the those regulatory bodies who purport to serve the interests of the consumer.
Your complaint merely echoes those of us who have discovered that regulatory bodies in the UK are there to serve their own interests.


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