Property Ombudsman welcomes new redress regulation

Property Ombudsman welcomes new redress regulation

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has welcomed the government's new regulation that will require all letting agents to sign up to a redress scheme.  Martin & Co St Albans are members of the Property Ombudsman.

It is one of three bodies - along with Ombudsman Services Property and The Property Redress Scheme - that agencies must choose to join by the end of the year. 

The ombudsman Christopher Hamer stated: "As the largest redress scheme in the property sector I am naturally very pleased that TPO has received official recognition from the government as an approved redress scheme. 

"With 60 per cent of UK letting agents already in membership with TPO, this will mean no change for them."

Bill McClintock, chairman of the TPO board, added: "These changes will bring a level playing field for letting agents, following years of campaigning from TPO and the industry."

Over 11,000 letting agents are already registered with TPO and choose to follow the standards set out in its Lettings Code of Practice, which gives unhappy tenants and landlords the chance to have their grievance independently assessed by the ombudsman.

This week has seen the TPO release its annual report for 2013, which revealed a record number of complaints and enquires. Some six in ten customer grievances were related to the lettings sector.

A total of 13,877 separate lettings-based complaints were raised, with half of these related to service issues. More than three quarters (76 per cent) of these issues were resolved via mediation. 

Half of all complaints came from landlords and 26 per cent of total grievances were from people based in the south east. A further 12 per cent were from the south west, while 11 per cent were from individuals in the Greater London area.

There was a 33 per cent increase in complaints that required a formal review and 79 per cent of these reviews were supported.

Mr Hamer said the number of cases brought to TPO has increased by 151 per cent since he took up the post in 2007. He also revealed the number of new letting agents who signed up to the scheme rose 13 per cent in 2013.