When choosing the right letting agent, how can you be sure you are dealing with a firm of integrity that upholds the highest principles and standard of service? After all, almost anyone can become a letting agent in this country without any qualifications or minimum service standards.

Letting agents who wish to demonstrate their commitment to consumer protection will be members of the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) scheme. The Ombudsman is an independent and impartial body that can listen to any complaints and award financial compensation if appropriate. Member agents agree to abide by a rigorous Code of Practice and any agent that is in the scheme can certainly be regarded as a “good trader”.

An important aspect of membership of the scheme is that members undertake not only to abide by a high level code, but also to be judged by an independent third party if a complaint is made, and to abide by whatever that judgement is. Any financial award that the Ombudsman makes in the consumer’s favour is binding on the agent.

This is good news for the consumer. The service is free, and should any complaint against a member agent be lodged with the OEA (and, by the way, we have never had any, nor do we expect to), the matter is dealt with quickly, and conclusively, without recourse to a court of law, saving the complainant considerable time and expense.

The letting of your property is too important to entrust to just anyone. So for peace of mind, we urge you to choose an agent who is a member of the OEA –as of course are we!

Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA
CEO – Oakfield Estate Agents