A number of letting agents are facing legal action after failing to sign up to a redress scheme.
The Northern Echo reports that Darlington Borough Council has served notices on a number of lettings and property management agents and says it will be taking action against them.
It is now one year since letting agencies were forced to become members of at least one of three approved redress schemes.
However the Darlington companies, who are not being named, were continuing to operate without being members of one of these schemes – a practice which can results in a fine of up to £5,000.
It is believed that two of the companies involved are appealing the decision to prosecute them.
The council started proceedings after a tenant wrote to the local Trading Standards department. She told them her rented property was “falling to pieces” and, after investigating, found the agency was not registered with any redress scheme.
Cllr Chris McEwan, Darlington Council’s cabinet member for economy, regeneration and licensing, said: “Access to a redress service is very important for private tenants and landlords if problems arise.
“We take the rights of tenants very seriously and will crack down if we find agents breaking the law.”