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Newham Council to name and shame rogue letting agents with new five-star rating scheme

PUBLISHED: 17:24 01 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:26 02 August 2017

Newham council housing officers and the police calling on addresses in Newham

Newham council housing officers and the police calling on addresses in Newham

Archant

Newham Council is to set up the UK’s first letting agents rating scheme to protect residents and landlords from rogue agents.

The cabinet-approved plan will see estate agencies across the borough being rated from zero to five stars - five being the best - with the results published on the council’s website.

The list has been set up to support tenants and landlords in picking the best options when renting out a property.

Agents that previously failed to refund deposits, pass on rental income, charged unjustified and astronomical fees or failed to address complaints will be named and shamed.

The ratings are based on the results of Newham’s Fair Lettings Project, which over the two years has seen all letting agents in the borough audited by the council.

Letters have already been sent out notifying businesses of their star rating based on performance, compliance with the law, delivery of best practice and customer feedback.

The council said it has already given 71 per cent, or 109 businesses, a three-star or above rating.

However 29pc, or 43 agents, remain incompliant and have fallen below three stars.

Any business unsatisfied with their rating will have 21 days to appeal the decision.

Following this, the results will be published in full on the council’s website.

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “The extreme demand in the private rented property sector is being exploited by some unscrupulous letting agents, who rip off landlords and tenants.

“We have seen tenants charged outrageous fees and had deposits withheld, and landlords who never see the rent that is due to them.

“The law gives us limited powers to act against these cowboys, but by scrutinising their activity, and sharing information with our residents and landlords, the ratings should see the unscrupulous agents pushed out of business while professional and hard-working agents are rewarded.”

The scheme has been designed to run alongside Newham’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) licensing scheme, which has resulted in more than 1,100 prosecutions of criminal landlords to date.

For more information visit newham.gov.uk


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