Lettings complaints have increased by 40% since 2015

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks says the majority of complaints made to The Property Redress Scheme in 2016 related to the letting industry.

The PRS’ annual report suggests a 40 per cent surge in complaints made last year compared to 2015.

Over 85 per cent of complaints it received were made either by tenants or landlords with property management, deposits and problems with rent the most common disputes.

The AIIC says that the complicated nature of the letting process alongside an increase in legislation could be responsible for the high proportion of rental sector complaints.

The PRS itself says the overall rise in complaints is partly down to its membership growth but partly down to a heightened public awareness of the formal complaints procedure – a sentiment echoed by the AIIC.

“The more transient nature of the letting sector increases the scope for disharmony between tenants, landlords and letting agents” says Danny Zane, joint chair of the AIIC and managing director of My Property Inventories.

There is no real “science” to letting out a property as long as the landlord and/or agent follows best practice procedures. The landlord is looking to make a profit from their property investment and the tenant is looking to have a home which they are prepared to pay for. It is therefore understandable that the landlord does not want to make unnecessary financial contributions but the tenant shouldn’t have to pay for a service they are not getting.

Basic steps:
As a landlord ensure that the property is safe, useable and enjoyable to live in. Tenants are requested to treat the property in a “tenant-like manner”.

Deposit problems were one of the most common complaints made last year and the AIIC says that if more agents and landlords provided professionally compiled independent inventories then the number of complaints relating to deposits could be reduced.

Whilst it is best practice to have a comprehensive inventory and schedule of conditions signed by both parties, it should be noted that tenants are entitled to part of if not full reimbursement of deposit depending on any queried damage contributions. This money should be returned to the tenant within 10 days.

Another word of advice is to use a reputable agent who is registered with Property Ombudsman and ARLA Propertymark to ensure that they know what they are doing. If they do they will have found the right tenant in the first instance.

And in other news, rather more exciting than the latest boxing fights (two peacocking male bald humans) stalking through the grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa is a resplendent bird aptly described as a “ninja eagle on stilts”. Some may say that the secretarybird looks a little ridiculous, but it feeds on venomous snakes, dispatching them with a single violent kick to the head.

A study in 2016 measured the kicking ability of a captive male secretarybird called, for unknown reasons (he wanted to be a “bird”?), Madeleine. They found that Madeleine could deliver five or six times his own bodyweight in a tenth of the time it takes a human to blink.

Madeleine is cool no matter how ridiculous his stance or name. John Wayne was really called Marilyn, I rest my case.