Please Note: All references to the masculine include the feminine on TPO website and documents.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of property repossessions as a result of the country's current economic difficulties.
In light of public sector cuts, ombudsman supports protection of private-rented tenants.
Letting agents need to be subjected to the same level of regulation as estate agents to ensure customers are adequately protected.
The Legal Service Consumer Panel's study into referral fees calls for transparency to enable consumers to make informed decisions about service providers.
'To ensure that you can prove an active approach to dealing with tenant issues, keep comprehensive records of all of your contacts and your actions.'
'I have dealt with many cases about fee entitlement... however one case recently referred to this office astounded me.'
Agents receiving fees from both sides of a property transaction must ensure they can demonstrate that this is in the clients' best interests and not a blatant conflict of interest, as Christopher Hamer explains.
Most agents understand the buyer warning caveat emptor, but there are many who continue to struggle with its true meaning and apply it appropriately, as ombudsman Christopher Hamer explains.
'Subsequently, the tenants left with arrears of £2,400 backed by an unenforceable guarantee.'
Lettings complaints increased to account for 49% of the property watchdog's workload last year, which is why he believes a code of practice is overdue. Here, ombudsman Christopher Hamer shares his concerns.
Estate agency depends on communication to sell properties, but it's an area where some members of the profession fall short when discussing commission fees. Christopher Hamer explains.
'The lesson to be learned, is that regular communication, however arduous it might be, is of the utmost importance.'
You may not be liable, but you could be responsible for failing to tackle misleading information from vendors. Here, Christopher Hamer explains the perils of leading buyers up the garden path.
'I have upheld complaints where the agent has failed to register the deposit either in a timely fashion or at all.'
'I cannot accept a complaint from an agent, be it against a consumer or another agent.'
'The Code of Practice requires member agents not to harass any person to gain instructions.'
'The desired outcome is that an 'innocent' seller should only pay one fee.'
'As sales disputes slow, I am seeing a greater number of lettings disputes and some common causes of dispute.'
'A deliberate attempt to misdescribe the features of a property can leave an agent open to prosecution by Trading Standards and a £5000 fine.'
'My view was and is that a contract for the sale of a property is not the same as an agreement for the provision of estate agency services.'