ARLA Propertymark says a new government online checker to help private tenants establish what repairs they may be entitled to should have emphasised the role of letting agents in helping renters.
We reported at the end of last week that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Ministry of Justice had launched an online checker to help tenants resolve housing disrepair issues in private rented accommodation.
The online tool uses what the government calls a guided pathway to establish what the issue is and offer them tailored information, guidance and signposting.
This aims to help them understand their rights and responsibilities, and identify an appropriate next step when trying to resolve issues before their problems escalate.
But ARLA Propertymark says the government should also have told tenants about the importance of letting agents.
“Alongside this pilot the government should be highlighting the expertise professional letting agents offer. They help both landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities and look to resolve issues before problems escalate” says Timothy Douglas, policy and campaigns manager for Propertymark.
“Across the private rented sector, we know poor communication can be at the root of the problem and a diligent agent will ensure a tenant’s home is safe, warm and not in a state of disrepair meaning less disputes to be resolved by relevant authorities.”
The checker service has received mixed reviews from some individual agents because it refers tenants to Shelter, which has been sharply critical of the lettings agency and landlord sectors.
You can see the checker here.