Chesterfield council agrees new powers to protect private housing tenants
New powers have been agreed that enable Chesterfield Borough Council to fine lettings agents and property managers who are not signed up to a scheme which protects the rights of their tenants.
All lettings agents and property managers should be a member of one of three Government approved redress schemes. These enable tenants to make complaints to an independent person about:
► Disputes about refunds of holding deposits taken to reserve a property;
► Lack of transparency about fees for tenants;
► Inaccurate property descriptions;
► Inaccurate accounting and not passing tenants' rents to their landlord;
► Slow or poor service.
Under powers given to it by the Government, Chesterfield Borough Council can now impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a letting agent or property manager is required to join a scheme but hasn't.
Councillor Chris Ludlow, the borough council's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "Many lettings agents and property managers offer good quality accommodation and follow the rules. These powers are designed to tackle rogue ones who can make renting property a nightmare.
"By ensuring they are signed up to one of the three schemes we can help tenants get the protection they need.
"While many letting agents and property managers in our area are signed up to these schemes, we do continually monitor the market to ensure that any new entrants are complying with the rules.
"We very much hope that we never have to use these powers but believe it is right that we have them at our disposal should the need arise so we can protect the rights of people living within private rented accommodation in the borough."
Anyone renting a property should check that their letting agent or property manager is a member of one of the three Government approved schemes which are:
► Ombudsman Services Property;
► Property Redress Scheme and;
► The Property Ombudsman.
Further advice for anyone planning to rent privately can be found at www.chesterfield.gov.uk/housing/private-property