Rental Standards Central Housing Group

Council launches ‘food hygiene’ style categories for letting agents

A council in the west country has launched a grading system for property agents which it says is designed to be similar to the well-known ‘food hygiene rating scheme’ used by authorities around the UK.

Teignbridge council in Devon says its Property Agent Rating Scheme will see participating agents displaying window stickers and certificates at their premises and ratings on their websites.

“This will enable landlords and tenants to easily identify who they can trust to look after their interests” says a council statement.

It continues: “Working with local landlords, landlord associations, letting agents, solicitors, and accountants, the scheme is a means of ensuring that all letting agents and property managers comply with letting related legislation.”

The scheme involves council officers visiting businesses and assessing working practices as well as checking information on websites and providing expertise and training.

The rental sector is large in the council footprint, constituting some 11,000 homes.

There are four PARS ratings, ranging from Bronze to Platinum.

Bronze is identified as ‘good’ and means the agent meets all current letting-related legislation. Achieving a Silver rating means the agent also offers good practice; Gold rated agents go the extra mile offering enhanced service; and Platinum agents are also members of a regulatory body, such as ARLA.

One local agency that immediately won a Platinum rating is Woods Lettings & Property Management, the lettings arm of the independent Woods Estate Agents & Auctioneers.

Woods lettings manager, Angie Richards, says: “With letting-related legislation becoming ever more complex, it is important for both landlords and tenants to have an understanding of their rights and responsibilities, and vital that landlords choose a reliable, trustworthy and honourable agent to act in both theirs and their tenants’ best interests.

“By using a PARS highly-rated agent, landlords and tenants in Teignbridge can be reassured that their asset/home is being appropriately and professionally managed.”

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