Inventory Reporting to Complement Redress Reform in PRS
Rose Jinks - March 8, 2019
Independent inventory reporting of private rental properties will complement the Government’s plans to reform housing redress by introducing a Housing Complaints Resolution Service, claims No Letting Go.
The provider of inventory services says that a clearer, single route complaints system, which can be supported by impartial, evidence-based documents, such as independent inventories, will help to protect both landlords and tenants.
As well as proposals for landlords to join a redress scheme and the introduction of a new homes ombudsman, plans for a Housing Complaints Resolution Service were also revealed.
The Government says that its aim is to create a “clearer” and “simpler” route to redress, through a “one-stop shop for housing complaints”, to “prevent anyone with a problem being turned away”.
A redress reform working group will now develop the proposals, before they are introduced in the future.
Nick Lyons, the CEO and Founder of No Letting Go, says: “We welcome the Government’s plans to reform housing redress and believe the new system will increase consumer confidence, by providing a straight-forward and accessible complaints procedure.”
He explains that a beefed up and clearer redress system will be complemented by independent inventory reporting, and that he supports making inventories mandatory and, preferably, independent.
“An impartial inventory and compliance report can be used as evidence by tenants making a complaint, or for protecting landlords and letting agents against unreasonable or unfounded tenant claims,” Lyons says. “It could give a complainant’s case more weight by showing and describing issues clearly.”
According to The Property Ombudsman’s annual report for 2017, the total amount of money awarded as a result of lettings complaints increased by 18% on 2016, to a total of £931,092 – almost treble the total handed out for sales complaints.
Furthermore, the average lettings award rose by 18%, while the number of resolved lettings cases grew by 11%. Management, and communication and record keeping were the most common causes of complaints.
The Property Redress Scheme has also found that poor inventory reporting is a major reason that letting agents are found culpable for not managing a property properly.
Lyons says: “As we can see, there is more activity in the lettings sector when it comes to complaints. This is why it’s so important that the new system is clear, and uses evidence and documentation effectively, much like the tenancy deposit protection industry.
“As is the case with deposit disputes, handled by tenancy deposit protection schemes, inventories can also prove truly valuable for landlords if they need to prove the condition of their property against an unfair or bogus complaint.”
He concludes: “Effective use of independent inventories could prove valuable to both landlords and tenants in the context of the new redress system, as well as for the organisations handling the complaints. This should contribute towards creating a clearer system, where a higher number of genuine complaints are handled with fair verdicts.”
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