Leading Essex & Hertfordshire estate agent Mullucks Wells has welcomed the news that all lettings agents and property management companies will be forced to join one of three compensation schemes, which have the power to investigate complaints and provide redress to tenants.

Last week the Government confirmed that almost 3,000 firms in the UK which are not already members of redress schemes will soon have to join either the Property Ombudsman, the Ombudsman Services or the Property Redress Scheme.

Mullucks Wells Residential Lettings Director Jo Wilson said: “All Landlords and tenants have a right to fair and transparent treatment from their letting agent – we have been members of RICS since 1990 and joined the Property Ombudsman since its inception. However, there are rogue firms out there who are ripping people off and bringing the whole industry into disrepute. This new legislation should sound the death knell for such firms – and about time too.”

Up until now, tenants renting through agents that were not signed up to the schemes had no recourse for disputes about hidden fees or poor service without going through the courts. The government is now urging such agents to join a scheme ahead of the legal requirement, which comes into effect later this year.

Jo Wilson added: “With house prices at record highs, more and more people are being forced to rent somewhere to live rather than buy. It’s only right that they should have a straightforward route to take action if they get a poor deal, while avoiding the excessive red tape that would push up rents and reduce tenant choice.

“The new rules will also provide a significant boost to landlords who have often been subjected to unacceptable conduct from these rogue lettings agents in the past.”