Letting agent redress schemes (LARS)
Complain to an independent redress scheme if your agent does not resolve a complaint about their service regarding your rental property.
What is a (LARS) letting agent redress scheme?
This scheme can resolve disputes between property agents and their customers regarding rental property. Both property managers, landlords and tenants can complain to a scheme. The LARS gives the landlord and the tenant peace of mind.
Property management Agents must join 1 of the 2 government approved redress schemes:
The estate agent must display the name of the scheme they belong to in their offices and website.
The council can fine letting agents up to £5000 if they have not joined a redress scheme.
Ombudsman Services: Property used to provide a redress scheme until the 6th of August 2018. Your agent must join an alternative scheme if they were registered with Ombudsman Services.
What complaints can a redress scheme deal with?
The scheme will consider complaints about issues like:
- The agent failed to explain things properly and you have suffered a loss.
- Unacceptable avoidable delays.
- Rude and abrupt.
However, you cannot usually complain about something that is the landlord’s fault. This includes things that the landlord is responsible for.
If your complaint is about your deposit then you need to deal with this through the tenancy deposit dispute resolution service and not the LARS.
How to submit a complaint to the scheme?
You must give the property managers at the letting agent a chance to deal with the problem before you complain to the scheme.
LARS will not accept any complaint until you exhaust the internal complaints procedure or write to the manager if they do not have a procedure.
You can complain to the scheme if either of the following applies:
- You are dissatisfied with the final response.
- 8 weeks have passed since your first lodged a complaint, and the issue is still not unresolved.
Please note, you are required to complain within the time limit set by the scheme.
Follow the procedure to lodge a complaint on the redress scheme’s website:
What will happen next?
The scheme will investigate your complaint.
If your complaint is upheld, they can order the letting agent to:
- To apologise
- To pay for financial loss
- pay compensation for avoidable distress or inconvenience
The scheme’s decision is binding on all the concerned parties.
Other ways to resolve a dispute
You could consider:
- Lodge a complaint with the Trading Standards
- Lodge a complaint to Propertymark only if your agent is a member.
- Complain to the British Landlord Association, if they are a member,
- Court action to claim compensation
Redress schemes will not deal with your complaint if you have already commenced court action through the county court.
Property Redress Scheme
The consumer redress scheme was introduced by the Government in 2014. It is intended to provide an impartial service that considers consumer complaints about various property-related issues.
For all UK estate agents, PRS is authorised by the National Trading Standards Estate and Lettings Agency Team; to offer redress to consumers under the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 Part 3.
All who conduct any estate, lettings, and property management related work are legally required to belong to a property redress scheme. If the consumer feels the service provided by one of their members has provided falls short of what is expected. You may be able to raise a complaint.
PRS also provide redress for other property professionals, including landlords. They offer tenancy mediation which helps to resolve tenancy issues. This in turn may prevent litigation through the county court.
It is important to note the Property Redress Scheme is not a regulator or an enforcement agency.
The Advisory Council
The advisory council’s role is to function as an advisory body to the Head of Redress and the Property Redress Scheme Board. They will deal with matters relating to the efficient running of the scheme. The Advisory Council may refer issues for consideration to the Head of Redress and Property Redress Scheme Board.
This may include changes in the legislation resultant from new, modiﬁed or changed regulation.
Common reasons for complaints?
Private landlords and corporate including tenants usually complain of the following things:
- Monthly rent
- Tenancy agreement
- Property Management
- Property ready
- Letting agent fees
- Poor Service
- property damage
- Rental property gas boiler
- Late payment
- Poor or incompetent service
- Rudeness or discourtesy
- A lack of clear explanation
- Not completing a transaction efficiently or as reasonably expected
- Avoidable delays in delivering agreed or expected service
About Property Redress Scheme
Property Redress Scheme is part of the Hamilton Fraser group of companies (HFIS PLC).
The company specialises in the property industry, offering products & services.
Hamilton Fraser was created as an insurance broker in 1996. They specialise in property or insurance products.
The Property Redress Scheme is a trading name of HF Resolution Ltd and is a subsidiary of HFIS PLC.
Author: Amanda Goldsmith Date: 29th of July 2021
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