Redress schemes

Letting and property management agents must be a member of a redress scheme. This means if something goes wrong you can make your complaint through the redress scheme. There are currently 2 approved redress schemes: 

Agents must clearly state the name of the redress scheme they belong to.

If an agent is not a member of a redress scheme, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline to report them to Trading Standards.

Client money protection

Letting agents must be a member of a Client Money Protection Scheme and display who they have client money protection with.

If an agent is not a member of a  Client Money Protection Scheme, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline to report them to Trading Standards.

Letting agents fees and charges

From 1 June 2019 tenant fees are banned for all new tenancy agreements.

From 31 May 2020 this will apply to ALL tenancy agreements, including those in force before 1 June 2019.

The only payments letting agents can charge in addition to the rent, utilities, council tax, communication services and TV licence are:

a) a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual
rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above

b) a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent

c) payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs
 
d) payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant

e) A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement

If a letting agent is charging fees when they shouldn't, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline to report them to Trading Standards.

Deposits

If you pay a deposit to a letting agent or landlord they must protect it with one of the Government approved deposit protection schemes:

All deposits paid must be protected within 30 days and information will be sent directly to you from the relevant scheme. If your deposit is not protected then you could be entitled to claim up to 3 times the amount back at the end of the tenancy. You also cannot legally be evicted from the property unless an unprotected deposit is returned.

The agency can only put a ‘holding deposit’ towards the first month’s rent, or the security deposit. They have to take any fees separately and are not allowed to deduct them from the holding deposit.

 

Electrical Safety

From 1 April 2021 landlords must have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested, at least every five years, by a qualified person. The landlord must get a report from the person carrying out the inspection. This is under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

A copy of the report must be given to a new tenant of a property before they move in to the premises. It must be given to an existing tenant of a property within 28 days of the landlord getting it.

The local authority is able to request a copy of a report at any time. If requested, it must be supplied within 7 days. Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is needed, this work should be completed within 28 days of the report (or sooner if the report specifies this).

Where remedial work has been carried out, written confirmation of the works must be supplied to the tenant and to the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works. This must state that the electrical safety standards are met, or that further investigative or remedial work is required.

To submit confirmation of works to the London Borough of Camden, please send it to hmolicensing@camden.gov.uk

There are exemptions from these regulations for, amongst others, social housing, lodgers, student halls of residence, refuges, care homes, hospices and other accommodation relating to healthcare provision.

The Government has issued guidance for landlords and tenants on the new electrical safety regulations.

Please note that when applying for an HMO licence, a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) will also be required. Failure to provide an EICR could result in a 1 year licence being issued.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 requires most private sector landlords to:

  • install a smoke alarm on every floor of their property
  • install a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms of their properties that use or burn solid fuels
  • check that alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations booklet