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Do you know your rights with letting and estate agents?
The Property Ombudsman has warned estate and letting agents to raise their standards. Could this affect you?
Who is the Property Ombudsman?
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) independently reviews complaints made by property buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords regarding letting and estate agents.
The TPO steps in as a free, impartial and independent service that aims to find a resolution for unresolved disputes between customers and property agents.
It is a legal requirement for all letting, estate and property management agents in England to be a member of an approved redress scheme. The Property Ombudsman is the largest property approved redress scheme in England – so chances are your letting or estate agent is a member.
In the news…
The TPO recently hit the news as it announced that it has resolved a third more property disputes in the last year than it did the previous year. In three quarters of those disputes, it found in favour of the customer.
The organisation receives 300 cases each week. In total, the TPO has arranged for property agents to pay out a total compensation of £811,134 this year - a rise of a third on last year.
Who can make a complaint?
Tenants and landlords
The organisation receives complaints from tenants and landlords about letting agents in an almost equal split, with common complaints made about repairs and maintenance, communication and record keeping and end of tenancy issues with deposits, disputes and damage.
When it comes to complaints made about estate agents, 60% were made against sellers and 35% were made by buyers in the last year. Poor communication and record keeping, mis-leading marketing and advertising, terms of business and commission and termination clauses were the most common problems buyers and sellers encountered with estate agents. In three quarters of the cases, the TPO settled in favour of the customer.
How do I complain to The Property Ombudsman?
If you need to make a complaint, visit The Property Ombudsman website here to find out whether your letting or estate agent is registered with the TPO.
If they are, click on ‘I have a complaint' and inform the TPO of your issue, which they will respond to.
If your letting or estate agent is not registered with the TPO, try looking for the government-approved redress scheme they are registered to. This is now a legal requirement for all letting and estate agents.