New ombudsman to help in battle against rogue landlords

Government announces that letting agents are now to be properly regulated

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The Independent Online

Anybody who rents a property will soon have a special ombudsman on their side with powers to enforce cheating landlords to repay tenants. The Government's last minute amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill means that every letting and management agent must sign up to a redress scheme.

"The lettings market has for far too long been in danger of becoming the Wild West of property industry," said Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Global Residential Director Peter Bolton King. "This is a step towards ensuring tenants and landlords are comprehensively protected. What we would now like to see is lettings and managing agents required to sign up to a professional regulation scheme that would ensure a better standard of professionalism right across the sector."

Lucy Morton, senior partner and head of lettings at estate agent W.A.Ellis, said: “Although this is a step in the direct direction, the Government has failed to address the issue of client money protection and professional indemnity insurance. There is a still a long way to go in ensuring better standards across the industry, and I fear that without full regulation we’re stopping short of putting an end to rogue agents and bad practice.”