Eleven letting agencies in just one city have been fined a total of £37,000 for not being members of any of the three redress schemes.
Sheffield council, which has conducted the clampdown, claims it is the first authority outside London to use legislation introduced last October obliging letting agents to be in either The Property Ombudsman, the Property Redress Scheme of Ombudsman Services: Property.
The council claims to have assessed the 200 or so letting agents active in the city, where around 16 per cent of the population live in the private rental sector.
In the last six weeks it has also taken eight other cases to court to prosecute landlords and agents for breaking the law. This includes one case where a local landlord received fines of more than £4,300 for failing to repair or manage his rented property.
“Most letting agents and landlords in Sheffield are very good and work with us really well. But we will take firm action on the small minority that do not follow the new measures designed to give tenants a fair deal” says a council spokesman.