Complaining about your letting agent

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Check if this advice applies to you

This advice applies if you have an occupation contract with a private landlord.

If you have an occupation contract, your landlord should have given you a written statement. Check your written statement - it will say that you have an occupation contract.

Even if you don’t have a written statement, you’ll still usually have an occupation contract if you:

  • don’t live with your landlord

  • started renting on or after 15 January 1989

If you’re not sure, or you have a different kind of agreement with a private landlord, check your contract or tenancy type if you rent from a private landlord.

You can complain about your letting agent if they’re doing something wrong or if you’re unhappy with their behaviour, for example:

  • you're charged fees when you shouldn't have been

  • they aren't doing repairs on behalf of the landlord that they should do

  • they're harassing you, for example by entering your home without your permission

  • they discriminate against you, for example by charging you a higher rent or deposit than other contract holders because of your nationality, race, age or sex

It’s best to speak to your letting agent first to solve your problem. If this doesn’t help there are other steps you can take to complain.


If it's an emergency

If you have an emergency situation for example, you’re being illegally evicted or threatened with violence you should call the police straight away.

Don’t be afraid to make a complaint - you shouldn't have to put up with a bad service. The law is there to help you.

Your letting agent can't just end your occupation contract because you've made a complaint - but they might try, especially if you've got a standard occupation contract.

Talk to an adviser if you're worried about being evicted for making a complaint.

Speak to your letting agent  

You can often get your problem solved quickly by contacting your letting agent first. Explain why you’re unhappy and ask them to sort out the problem.

Take someone with you for support when you speak to your letting agent if you feel it will help you. If you don't want to speak to them face to face or on the phone you could email.

Before discussing the problem you should:

  • note down everything you want to say - you can refer to your notes during your conversation or put them in an email

  • talk to an adviser to discuss the situation - they can check your legal rights and help you speak to your letting agent

You could also try speaking to your landlord to get your problem solved. They might not know you’re having problems with your letting agent.

You can find your landlord's name and address on your written statement . Ask your letting agent for your landlord’s details if you can’t find them - they have to give you the details.

Talk to an adviser if your letting agent is refusing to give you your landlord’s details.

If speaking to your letting agent doesn’t help

There are steps you can take to complain if your problem isn’t solved by speaking to or emailing your letting agent.

Step 1: write your letting agent a letter

You can make a written complaint by following your letting agent’s complaints procedure. You’ll usually find the procedure on their website - if you don’t, ask for it.

Check the complaints procedure to see how long it will take to get a reply.

If your letting agent doesn’t have a complaints procedure, write to the manager.

Explain your problem and what you want them to do to solve it. Tell them what rights you have and what you think they should have done.

Talk to an adviser to find out what rights you have, for example they can tell you if your letting agent has to do certain repairs or help you check if you’ve been discriminated against.

Make sure your complaint letter is clear and includes evidence. This will help the letting agent deal with your complaint more quickly.

You should include in your letter:

  • what you're complaining about

  • what you want them to do about the problem

  • dates and times the problem took place

  • details of any conversation with your letting agent and what they agreed to do

  • copies of any letters or emails between you and your letting agent

  • photographs - for example showing damage or disrepair, particularly if the problem gets worse over time

  • receipts for things you've had to pay for because of the problem - for example laundry bills if your washing machine broke down

  • a note from your doctor (if possible) - if the problem has affected your health or safety

Step 2: complain to an independent complaints body

If your letting agent doesn’t respond to your written complaint within 8 weeks or they don’t solve your problem, you can complain to their independent complaints body.

The complaints body is a service that helps you fix problems you have with your letting agent. It’s also called a ‘redress scheme’.

Your letting agent has to be a member of one of:

Ask your letting agent which body they belong to or check on the complaints body’s website.

Complain by filling in an online form on the complaints body’s website.

If you want to write a letter, you can find the address of the complaints body on their website.

Explain your problem and tell them what you've done to solve it. Include a copy of the letter you sent to your letting agent.

If the complaints body decides your letting agent hasn’t acted correctly they can tell them to make changes and in some cases pay you compensation.

If your letting agent isn’t a member of a complaints body, talk to an adviser.

Step 3: complain to your local council

If you’ve followed all the other steps and still haven’t been able to get your problem solved you might be able to complain to your local council.

Your local council can only help with complaints about:

  • repairs that cause a risk to your health and safety not being done, for example, faulty electrical wiring not being fixed

  • illegal eviction

  • harassment

  • dishonest or unfair trading behaviour

You can also report your letting agent to Rent Smart Wales if they don’t solve your problem.

If you complain about repairs not being done

Your council should contact you and your letting agent to discuss the problem and explain the law if you complain about repairs not being done. They can inspect your home and order your letting agent (or landlord) to do the repairs.

Find out more about getting repairs done.

If you complain about being harassed or illegally evicted

Your local council can investigate if you complain about harassment or illegal eviction. They can tell your letting agent to stop harassing you. They also have the power to tell them to stop the illegal eviction. If your letting agent ignores their advice they can be taken to court.

Find out about the steps your landlord should take to legally evict you. If your letting agent on behalf of the landlord hasn’t followed the correct steps, talk to an adviser.

If you complain about your letting agent being dishonest or unfair

You should ask for your problem to be looked at by the Trading Standards team at the council who deal with all complaints about dishonest and unfair trading.

Your letting agent can be given a warning or fine if they’ve broken the law by acting dishonestly or unfairly.

Acting dishonestly or unfairly could mean not telling you the property has damp or about their charges, for example.

Complain by writing a letter. Explain your problem and the steps you’ve taken to try to solve it with your letting agent. Include a copy of the letter you sent to your letting agent.

Talk to an adviser if you need help making a complaint.

If you still can’t get your problem fixed

If your letting agent still doesn't sort out your problem after you've tried all the steps or if the council can't help, you might be able to take court action. Taking court action is expensive, make sure it's the right option for you.

You might take court action, for example if:

Talk to an adviser before taking court action. An adviser can help you look at all your options for dealing with your problem. They can also tell you if you might be able to get help with legal costs.

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Adolygwyd y dudalen ar 01 Rhagfyr 2022