A letting agent is angry that there has not been a single prosecution in his region as a result of agencies not signing up to one of three approved redress schemes.
The KIS agency has asked five councils in the Tyne and Wear region whether any fixed penalty notices have been issued to letting agents that had not joined The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property and the Property Redress Scheme.
Membership of one of these has been compulsory since October 1.
The Gateshead, Newcastle, North Shields, South Shields and Sunderland councils all replied that there had been no prosecutions; one of the authorities initially claimed that it was not its responsibility to collect the information, even though KIS had been told by the Department of Communities and Local Government that individual councils were charged with policing the redress regulations.
“It would be nice to think that the absence of any fines for letting agents not joining a mandatory redress scheme means every single agent has signed up to one – but with Citizen’s Advice estimating that one in five agents haven’t, that seems to be a little fanciful” says KIS chief executive Ajay Jagota.
“We found agents who don’t seem to be members of any of the schemes with no more than five minutes of Googling. But it doesn’t look like anyone else is even doing that” he says.
Last week we reported that 11 letting agencies in just one city - Sheffield - had been fined a total of £37,000 for not being members of any of the three redress schemes.