An outspoken lettings agent has become one of the first in the industry to says that a new TripAdvisor-style ratings website may do a better job of keeping tenants safe from lousy landlords and letting agents than current housing watchdogs.
Ajay Jagota of KIS Lettings says the newly-launched RentalRaters.com - which allows tenants in privately rented properties to rate' their agents and landlords and review' homes they have lived in - may be more effective even than official redress schemes like The Property Ombudsman.
LAT last week revealed that two letting agents had been expelled from TPO's redress scheme because they failed to abide by compensation rulings, and Jagota says this illustrates the weaknesses in such watchdogs currently.
I've nothing against redress schemes, but their limitations are obvious in cases like these when they can react to situations but can't seem to prevent them. It's not much good to tenants or their landlords who have had to live through them he says.
However, while Jagota backs the concept of review sites to help publicise poor quality agents or landlords, he admits they have weaknesses. I'm not convinced these websites will ever attract enough reviews - and particularly high quality, objective, reviews - to be terribly useful, but the events of this week suggest they could end up doing just as effective a job as existing regulators.