A Redress Scheme is a system which allows consumers/customers/clients to escalate a complaint they have against the member of a particular scheme. All property professionals, estate agents and property agents that carry out lettings, estate management and property management have a legal responsibility to join an authorised Property Redress Scheme and make the details available to their customers, which includes both landlords and tenants.
A Property Redress Scheme (PRS) membership adds value to a property professionals’ business and gives their customers peace of mind that any complaint can be resolved by an independent third-party with experience in dealing with consumer complaints.
The main purpose of a Redress Scheme is to resolve or settle unresolved complaints from consumers who have suffered a loss as a result of the actions of the member. The council can fine agents up to £5000 if they do not join a redress scheme. Private landlords can join a Property Redress Scheme, but there is no legal requirement to do so.
What types of complaints are handled by a Property Redress scheme?
A Property Redress Scheme will deal with the following complaints:
- If there has been a breach of a scheme member’s obligations under the law
- An issue where legal rights have been impinged or breached
- Where a member has not acted in accordance with the Code of Practice it has signed up to, or any internal rules, procedures, or statements of practice
- If the tenant or landlord has received unfair treatment by the member, including:
- rudeness or discourtesy
- not explaining matters clearly
- poor or incompetent service
- avoidable delays
- poor administration of transactions
- actions that have resulted in suffering a financial loss, or unnecessary aggravation, distress and/or inconvenience
For tenants, complaints about non-return or deductions from their deposit at the end of their tenancy, they should their tenancy deposit dispute resolution service instead.
What is the reporting procedure to complain to a PRS?
Initially, use the agent’s internal complaints procedure to raise the issues directly, or write to the manager if they don’t have the procedure. You must then give the property agent reasonable time to deal with the problem before you complain to a Redress Scheme.
If they have not responded after 8 weeks, you can proceed to complain to the Property Redress Scheme, or you can complain to the Redress Scheme if you’re unhappy with the final response from the agent and you feel the issue is unresolved.
Note that you must complain within the time limit set by the Scheme which is generally within 6 months of the last correspondence received from the agent/member.