Never a council likely to leave well alone and hope for the best, the London Borough of Newham has developed a rating system for local letting agents to “help drive improvements in the Private Rented Sector.”
What are they trying to achieve?
Well, the local authority says that they aim to promote tenant and landlord choice, by informing their decision making. They also believe that the scheme will encourage agents to adopt more professional practices and prevent exploitation of residents.
What are they rating?
The scheme includes the following elements:
- An assessment by the Trading Standards Team to ensure current compliance with the consumer protection legal requirements that apply to letting agents
- A review of recent compliance history with respect to Trading Standards and Housing related legislation.Professional Body Membership – recognition given to those businesses that have a joined a professional body
- Improving Best Practice for tenants – recognition given to those agents that either do not charge tenant fees or provide credit rating data on behalf of tenants.
Are agents already being rated?
Yes. The Council has identified and rated 159 letting agents in the Borough – the majority of which have been awarded three stars.
A three star rating demonstrates that an agent has no relevant convictions; four stars are available for those also in membership of a recognised professional body.
Only agents which do not charge tenant fees or provide credit rating services to tenants may be awarded five stars. The full criteria are available here.
Below is an overview of how Newham agents are currently rated (October 2017):
|Current ratings: Star rating||Number of agents||% of total|
More details and individual agent ratings can be found on the Newham Council Website