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Statistics Report

TPO is a government approved scheme to provide independent redress in relation to disputes between consumers and property agents. 

The report shows statistics and commentary  provided to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team for TPO's approval. 

The report includes a breakdown of what complaints were about by topic, the number of disputes received per sector and detailed reasons for disputes rejected per sector. 

Reports:

 

TPO Compliance Survey

PURPOSE

TPO membership means that you have signed up to follow the TPO code of practice (approved by CTSI) demonstrating that your company operates to the highest standards and are committed to raising standards across the industry.

Successful completion of the compliance survey exercise will give you peace of mind that you are meeting your TPO member obligations as set out in the codes of practice (Residential Sales and Residential Lettings).

The compliance survey also gives peace of mind in that it covers the checks made by Trading Standards Officers (TSO) in the following areas.

      • Display of Redress Provider
      • Display of lettings fees
      • Money Laundering
      • Client Money Protection
      • Client Account

PROCESS

        1. You will receive an invitation by email to complete the compliance survey
        2. You will have 1 month to collate and submit your survey and evidence.**This means if anything is not already in place you have time to rectify this before submission.** Our getting it right first time document can assist with this.
        3. Return the form and evidence by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post to Milford House, 43-55 Milford Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2BP. Please note if you are sending this by email the size limit on attachments is 15mb, this could mean that you will submit several emails (with numbering in the subject to confirm how many we are to receive).
        4. The compliance team will check your survey paperwork and feed back to you via letter. 
        5. In the event that any areas need further amendments, these will be explained in the feedback letter and you will have the opportunity to re-submit.
        6. Following re-submission, if necessary, the paperwork that needed amendments will be re-checked and a final survey completion letter will be sent to you.

REQUIREMENTS

Our form can be viewed here  

GUIDANCE

The form is split into 4 sections:

 

      • Section 1 – About your Business
        Question 1- Please confirm the jurisdictions your business operates in.
        Question 2 - Please confirm your company details.

      • Section 2 - Your Professional Memberships 
        Question 3 - Please confirm if you are a member of any of the listed professional organisations.

      • Section 3 – Code & Legal Compliance Evidence  
        Question 4 & 5
        TPO CODES OF PRACTICE, CONSUMER GUIDES, WINDOW STICKERS AND THE TPO LOGO

        As per the TPO Code of Practice 'You must have available, free of charge, copies of the Code of Practice to give to consumers on request. You must also prominently display copies of the Consumer Guide leaflet in all your offices'.
      • You can either:

        Download copies of the Consumer Guide and Codes of Practice and print them off
        Or
        Download a stationery request form here, which you will need to fill out and return to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

        In addition, as per the TPO Code of Practice, ‘You must prominently display the TPO logo on your website, the window of all offices and on all relevant documentation such as marketing literature, property advertisements and on your letter heads’. You can:

        Request a TPO Window Sticker by downloading a stationery request form here, which you will need to fill out and return to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
        And/Or
        Request the correct TPO logo by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and quoting your membership number.

Glasses

  What will we be checking for?

        • That up-to-date copies of the Consumer Guides are on display within your branch
        • The correct TPO Logo to be displayed on your headed paper and website
        • The correct window sticker to be displayed within your branch
        • That you have up-to-date Codes of Practice which can be handed out to consumers on request

back to guidance

      • Question 6 - 
        PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

        You would have submitted your Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance when you joined the scheme, please submit a copy of your current PI Insurance policy schedule.

Glasses

  What will we be checking for?

        • The name of the insured company (this must match up with the company name as at Companies House)
        • The period of cover
        • The limit of Indemnity - no less than £100,000.
        • The excess limit - no more than £1,000.

back to guidance

      • INTERNAL COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE 

        As part of your membership obligations, you must maintain and operate an internal complaints procedure. This procedure must be in writing and contain the timescales which are outlined in the TPO Code of Practice, the correct TPO details (address, website and telephone number) and you must state that there is a 12 month timescale for complaints to the Property Ombudsman.

        If you would like a template, please download it here. We also have flow chart for the "in-house" process.

Glasses

  What will we be checking for?

        • A timescale of 3 working days to acknowledge the complaint
        • A timescale of 15 working days to respond to the complaint
        • TPO to be the final contact point
        • TPO’s address, contact number and website
        • A timescale of 12 months for the consumer to refer their complaint to TPO after your final viewpoint letter 

back to guidance

Glasses  What will we be checking for?

        • The correct TPO Logo displayed on your headed paper
        • If you are a registered company, your registered address, place of registration and registered number to be shown. 

back to guidance

      • TERMS OF BUSINESS

 

Glasses

  What will we be checking for?

          • Energy Performance Certificates - Please ensure the legal requirement regarding the need for an EPC ahead of a property being marketed and the process for obtaining one is included. You will need to include the cost for an EPC, inclusive of VAT (if you charge for this service)
          • The Property Ombudsman - Ensure your TPO Membership is stated in your contract terms along with a link to the scheme’s website (www.tpos.co.uk)
          • Right to Cancel – The 14 day ‘Right to Cancel’ must be included.
          • Fees – If you are VAT registered then all fees must be shown as inclusive of VAT. They must also be clear and transparent.  If you have fees that are shown as percentages, then they must be followed by an example. (E.G 'If your Property sells for the asking price of £........., you will pay a fee of £........ Inclusive of VAT' / 'If the monthly rent was £......, the fee would be £........ Inclusive of VAT') 
            Due to a recent legislation change you can no longer charge for credit or debit card transactions, please ensure this is not included

 

back to guidance

      • MONEY LAUNDERING 

        If you deal in Residential Sales, you must be registered with HMRC for Anti- Money Laundering. Although the requirement is currently limited to estate agents, it is viewed as good practice for letting agents to be registered too. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/registration-guide-for-estate-agency-businesses for further information.  

 Glasses  What will we be checking for?

        • An in date certificate which contains the ML Registration Number. 

 back to guidance

      • VULNERABLE CONSUMER TRAINING

        As per the TPO Code of Practice ‘ You should take special care when dealing with consumers who might be disadvantaged because of their age, infirmity, lack of knowledge, lack of linguistic ability, economic circumstances or bereavement.’ TPO have a guidance sheet which we would advise you download our guidance for dealing with vulnerable consumers and ensure that all your staff read.

back to guidance

            • ICO. REGISTRATION

              Under the Data Protection Act individuals and organisations that process personal information need to register with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), unless they are exempt. More Information on this can be found at https://ico.org.uk

 Glasses  What will we be checking for?

        • An in date certificate which contains the ICO Registration Reference. 

 back to guidance

 

      • Section 4 – Letting Agents
        Question 7 
        CLIENT ACCOUNT

        A Client Account is a type of account which is protected. If your business were to go into liquidation then the money held in that account would not be used to settle any outstanding amount. You must ensure that the Account Type is a Client Account and not a Business Account or Current Account.
        We would advise that you contact your bank for further guidance on this. 

Glasses  What will we be checking for?

        • A bank statement dated within the last 3 months , a screenshot of your online banking or a letter from your bank confirming you have a designated client account
        • For the account type to be a Client Account
        • The account name to include the trading name

back to guidance

      • Question 8 & 9 - 
        DISPLAYING FEES (England and Wales only)

        You are required to display both your landlord and tenant fees on your website and within your office. Please see our guidance sheet for further clarification. 

Glasses  What will we be checking for?

        • These must be inclusive of VAT (if you are VAT registered)
        • The list must be clear and comprehensive
        • Surcharges, Credit & Debit card fees, hidden fees or vague expressions like ‘ Admin Fee’ are not permitted.

back to guidance

      • Question 10 
        CLIENT MONEY PROTECTION INSURANCE (England and Wales only)

        Client Money Protection Insurance is not a legal requirement; however we are now urging all TPO members who deal in residential lettings to register with a Client Money Protection scheme. We strongly believe that CMP Insurance will increase consumer protection and will ultimately result in a reduction in the number of complaints against lettings agents. Click to view our dedicated CMP Insurance page.
        It is however a legal requirement that you display on your website and within your office whether or not you are a member of a CMP Scheme

Glasses  What will we be checking for?


If you have Client Money Protection

        • A CMP certificate or a statement informing consumers that you have CMP displayed within your branch
        • A CMP logo or a statement informing consumers that you have CMP displayed on your website

If you do not have Client Money Protection

        • A statement informing consumers that you do not have CMP displayed within your branch
        • A statement informing consumers that you do not have CMP displayed on your website

back to guidance

      • Question 11
        GOVERNMENT APPROVED TENANT DEPOSIT SCHEMES

        It is a legal requirement that agents who deal in residential lettings in England, Wales and Northern Ireland register deposits with one of the Government Approved Tenant Deposit Schemes. These are:
        • TDS ( Tenancy Deposit Scheme)
        • MD (My Deposits)
        • DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme)
      • It is also a legal requirement that letting agents in Scotland register deposits with one of the deposit protection schemes duly authorised under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. These are:
        • Letting Protection Service Scotland
        • Safedeposits Scotland
        • My|deposits Scotland

Glasses  What will we be checking for?

        • An in date certificate or a screenshot from your online account which contains the registration number.

 

back to guidance

Client Money Protection Insurance (CMP)

CMP is an insurance product for letting agents. CMP protects the rental money that a tenant pays their letting agent to pass onto a landlord. Few landlords or tenants are aware of CMP and how it can safeguard rental money if an agent attempts to use client funds fraudulently.

However, the Government has now confirmed that it plans to make CMP mandatory for letting agents, following an official review which TPO contributed to in 2016. A consultation is due to take place in 2017 before the Government makes CMP a legal requirement.

Agent information

CMP insurance cover is available through several providers (see below) and we urge agents to review the options available to them and ensure they have their cover in place before CMP becomes a legal requirement.

Did you know? Under current legislation, the Consumer Rights Act 2015* made it a legal requirement for every lettings agent in England to display whether or not they are a member of a Client Money Protection scheme. Letting Agents in Wales are required to be a member of a Client Money Protection scheme (and display this to consumers) as part of their Rent Smart Wales registration.

Trading Standards Officers have the enforcement powers to impose fines of up to £5,000 for any firm that fails to display this information.

* The legislation also requires agents to display their lettings fees and which redress scheme they belong to. Failure to do so, could result in a £5,000 fine being enforced by Trading Standards.

Agents that belong to a trade body

CMP is available through several providers. Agents that belong to an industry trade body may already be covered. The following trade bodies offer comprehensive CMP cover to their member firms: ARLA, RICS, UKALA and NALS.

Agents that do not belong to a trade body

TPO has an exclusive agreement with Lonsdale, which offers TPO member agents a comprehensive Professional Indemnity Insurance and Client Money Protection policy. The ‘PI+CMP’ policy was developed exclusively for TPO member agents - to find out more about the benefits of the Lonsdale cover, please contact:

Lonsdale Insurance Brokers Lonsdale PI and CMP

Tel: 020 3713 3860

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit: http://www.lonsdaleib.com/our-business/property-professionals

N.B. Lonsdale Insurance Brokers offer a combined Professional Indemnity (PI) and CMP policy. (Please note: if an agent is unable to cancel their existing PI cover Lonsdale can offer CMP only until their PI is due for renewal)