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2 August 2011

New lettings agent code makes progress

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by Gill Montia

New lettings agent code makes progress

The Property Ombudsman’s (TPO) lettings agent code has successfully completed the first stage of the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT’s) consumer codes approval scheme.

The code aims to give both landlords and tenants greater protection and better redress in dealing with lettings agents.

Among other things, it stipulates that:

Any holding deposits taken from prospective tenants are kept in a separate designated clients’ account.

Letting agents cannot include sales commissions in their agreements with landlords, or charge renewal commission where the landlord instructs someone else to renew the lease.

Where a let does not go ahead through no fault of the tenant, the prospective tenant’s holding deposit will be refunded in full and within 10 working days.

TPO to provide a free, independent redress scheme for tenants and landlords who have a complaint against one of its members.

The ombudsman will now carry out monitoring procedures, including mystery shopping exercises, to ensure that the code is working effectively, before heading for final approval by the OFT.

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