Could letting agents’ fee ban stop tenants being able to complain to Ombudsman?

The impending ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants could severely limit the ability of renters to complain to redress schemes about agents.

The ban – confirmed by housing minister Gavin Barwell on the Today programme on Friday if the Tories regain power – would result in tenants not paying agents any fees.

As such, it has been claimed, it opens a legal minefield as to whether renters could be regarded as ‘customers’. If so, that could limit or even extinguish their rights to complain.

The argument would be that if tenants do not pay, how could they seek redress?

At the least, it would seem that as non-paying customers, their ability to complain about free services could be severely restricted.

The question does seem hypothetical, since buyers – who do not pay sales agents – are able to complain to ombudsman and redress services about estate agents.

However, some analysts are raising the query as to whether tenants would be able to complain to TPO about, for example, external provisions for which they would not pay, such as referencing and inventory services.

We have asked TPO to comment.

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3 Comments

  1. Votta583

    And so the questions begin??!!!

    This is just another one of the several ripple effects caused by the imminent fee ban. When will the government realise this is a terrible terrible decision?

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  2. AlexBroadfoot

    This is becoming pretty dull now. Agents need to quit their whining and get on with it. Lettings fees are entirely erroneous, fabricated costs. No one has ever justified a tenancy fee in their life and the government is entirely right to have them scrapped. Talk of passing on this cost is utter nonsense. £100 per tenant? £150? £250? For what? Rewriting a contract? Processing a reference? Neither of these even comes close to those figures. It began as a scam and somehow entered the general consciousness of agents as a justifiable cost. Why wait for the ban?

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  3. Votta583

    Alex are you saying that the 20 odd hours involved in viewings, negotiations drafting of documents and necessary checks and the free advice given to tenants shouldn’t be chargeable?

    If that’s the case then I won’t pay:

    SDLT on my next house purchase,

    an admin fee to my car leasing company

    balance transfer fee on my credit card

    set up fee for changing my mortgage provider

    buying a new mobile a handset fee

    i could go on…..

    the point I’m making is a service is provided then a fee should be charged. Capped but not abolished completely.

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