Estate agents pay out as result of Ombudsman complaints

Posted by Jasmin Stopford in Mortgages on 7 October 2016 - Jasmin is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Estate agents have been warned that they need to raise their standards, as the Property Ombudsman had to step in to resolve more than 3,000 complaints in the last year.

The Ombudsman backed more than three quarters of the complaints received, which forced agents to pay out a total compensation amount of £811,134.

Katrine Sporle, of the Property Ombudsman says, “In the vast majority of cases, enquiries are dealt with satisfactorily through Ombudsman intervention to facilitate early resolution between agents and consumers.”

The most common complaints were for poor management regarding repairs and maintenance, poor communication and record keeping, end of tenancy issues with deposits, disputes and damages, mis-leading marketing and advertising and unclear instructions, terms of business, commission and termination clauses.

According to the data, £16,954 was awarded for a single letting dispute, which was the highest amount of compensation paid out. One of the cases saw an agent fail to disclose material information to a potential buyer. The buyer was left completely unaware of the planning application for an 850 house development opposite the property, which would cause considerable noise and disruption for the foreseeable future.

Another case saw a buyer purchase a ‘two bedroom’ property at an auction, which turned out to actually have one bedroom. The buyer alleged that the agent had failed to provide accurate property particulars and with the Ombudsman on their side, they were awarded £750 compensation.

Katrine Sporle concludes, “The number of agents joining the Ombudsman has grown 82% in the last five years – 35,374 offices are now signed up and following our approved Codes of Practice. My message for those agents is simple – pay more attention to the Ombudsman’s Codes of Practice and raise your standards.”

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