The Property Ombudsman has warned that letting agents must not forget about their duty to tenants once the fee ban comes in.
Katrine Sporle was speaking at the ARLA Propertymark national conference where delegates had questioned why they should deal with tenant complaints if they are not getting paid by them.
Sporle said there would be no question that letting agents must remember their duty of care to tenants, and said that in many cases renters were complaining about not being taken seriously.
She said: “Complaints are rising. They are not going down. I’m not going out looking for complaints – they are rising because the size of the market is rising and people are more savvy. They expect a better service.
“Any agent who thinks you don’t have a duty of care to your tenant and therefore a tenant won’t complain under the ban, we won’t go there with you.
“We will be taking complaints from tenants.”
She told EYE that she would still have powers to award redress to tenants after the ban and that agents were wrong to think that just because there were no more fees, that this meant their duty of care had gone.
Meanwhile, giving a keynote speech at the conference, former Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said he had opposed the Right to Rent scheme at the time of its launch and thought it would be stopped after its initial trial.
Another speaker, former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King, said the industry shouldn’t be so downbeat as there will still be plenty of demand due to immigration, the housing shortage and people wanting the flexibility of renting. He also said letting agents should still treat tenants as their clients.