Complaining about a letting agency

This page explains how to complain about a letting agency. It explains how to escalate the dispute to the tribunal if the complaints procedure does not resolve the matter.

What can I complain about?

If you're a tenant and you're dealing with a letting agency, your landlord will either be:

  • the letting agency itself, or

  • a private landlord who's paying the letting agency to look after their property and rent it out

Whatever the situation is you can complain about anything you're not happy with, including:

  • bad service

  • rude members of staff at the agency

  • being charged an illegal premium

  • repairs not being done

The letting agent code of practice

From 31 January 2018 any person working as a letting agent has to adhere to the letting agent code of practice. These are standards tenants and landlords should expect if they rent a property through a letting agent.

Under the code a letting agent must:

  • carry out their business in a way that complies with all appropriate legislation

  • be honest, open, transparent and fair in their dealings with tenants and former tenants

  • make sure all staff and any subcontractors comply with the code and any other legal requirements

  • make sure that all private information is handled sensitively and in line with legal requirements

  • respond to all enquiries and complaints within reasonable timescales and in line with any written agreement

Under the code a letting agent cannot:

  • unlawfully discriminate against a tenant or prospective tenant

  • provide information that is deliberately or negligently misleading or false

  • communicate in any way that is abusive, intimidating or threatening

The letting agent code of practice is available in full on the website, and includes rules on:

  • standards of practice

  • lettings

  • repairs

  • communications and complaints

  • how money is handled

If you think your letting agent is not complying with the code, you should complain in writing to them. The complaint must be dealt with in line with the letting agent’s complaints procedure.

How to make a complaint

  • use the tribunal’s template code of conduct complaint letter

  • state what paragraph numbers of the code of practice your letting agent has broken

  • give reasons why you think your letting agent has broken them

  • keep a copy of your complaint letter

  • email or post your complaint to your letting agent

  • have proof that the letting agent received the complaint - add a read receipt to your email or send your letter recorded delivery and keep the receipt

The letting agent's complaints procedure should say how long the letting agent has to respond to your complaint.

Applying to the tribunal

You can apply to the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber if complaining to the letting agency does not resolve the matter. Your application should tell the tribunal what you want the letting agent to do.

You must have tried to resolve the matter by complaining to the letting agency first. If you cannot prove that you made a complaint then the tribunal may dismiss your application. The tribunal will also not consider any new issues that are not covered by your complaint.

You can include a claim for compensation as part of your application to the tribunal. You may need to speak to a solicitor or law clinic to help you calculate the value of compensation you believe you are owed.

If the tribunal accepts your application then you may get a date for a tribunal discussion or a hearing.

There is no cost to apply to the tribunal and solicitors are not required at discussions or hearings. If you decide to get a solicitor to represent you then you may have to pay their costs.

What to send in your application to the tribunal

  • your application form

  • what you want the letting agent to do

  • details of compensation you believe you are due

  • copies of the complaint letters you sent to the letting agent

  • copies of any responses to your complaint from the letting agent

  • proof that the letting agent received your complaint

  • any other relevant written communication you had with the letting agency

Download application form J on the tribunal website.

What you will need to fill out the application form

  • the letting agent’s registration number - this should be on your tenancy agreement. You can ask the letting agent for their registration number or search the letting agent register for it

  • paragraph numbers from the letting agent code of practice that you included in your complaint letter. You will write these in Part 6a of the application form

Send your application by post or by email to:

Glasgow Tribunals Centre, 20 York Street, Glasgow, G2 8GT

What happens once you apply to the tribunal

The tribunal can arrange a discussion or a hearing based on your written evidence. These will help the tribunal decide if the letting agency broke the code of practice.

You can make your case at the discussion or hearing. The letting agency will have a chance to respond. The tribunal will then issue a written decision.

If the tribunal decides the letting agency has broken the code of practice

The tribunal can issue a Letting Agent Enforcement Order. It will say how the code of practice has been broken and what the letting agency must do to resolve the situation. If the tribunal agrees that you are due compensation they would issue an order for payment at this stage.

If the tribunal decides the letting agency has not broken the code of practice

The tribunal will reject your application. You then have the right to appeal that decision within 30 days of receiving the tribunal’s written decision. When you appeal you must show that the tribunal has not applied the law correctly.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 3 August 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England