The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme, which offers an independent and impartial dispute resolution service to consumers who have been unable to resolve their disputes with a registered property business, has appointed a new Deputy Ombudsman, Lesley Horton, who will work alongside Property Ombudsman, Rebecca Marsh.
Between October and December 2021 (inclusive), two agents were excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay compensatory awards.
Between July and September (inclusive), six agents were excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay compensatory awards.
- 39,285 people provided with advice and guidance in 2020 (up 29% on 2019)
- Online portal played significant role, helping nearly half of all consumers contacting TPO (17,359)
- 5,707 disputes resolved (up 12% on 2019)
- £1.9 million in awards
- 99% compliance with Ombudsman decisions
The Buyers located a property which they wanted to buy. Once they had made an offer they instructed a search provider to carry out a ‘Homescreen’ search report on the property. The Buyer wanted to check if the property would be at risk of flooding.
The Search Provider did as instructed and carried out a Homescreen search. They came back with the results of the search which did not highlight any potential risk of flooding to the property. They also reported that no action was required and gave the Buyers the impression that the property was not at risk of flooding. Happy with the search results, the Buyer went ahead with the purchase of the property.
The Buyers instructed the Surveyor to provide a report and signed and returned the Surveyor’s Terms and Conditions via email. The Buyers’ covering e-mail included a number of requests, one of which included accessing the loft to assess an existing planning application document attached to the Property which had been submitted before the owner had undertaken remodeling work. The Buyers wished to know whether the work detailed in the planning application could still be completed.
The Leaseholders of an apartment had concerns relating to an incident that had occurred and the issues that subsequently arose.
On the day of the incident, the Leaseholders visited the foyer of the building to complain about a billboard that they say had been placed there on instruction of the Management Company’s director. The billboard advertised apartments to let inside their building and directed interested parties to enquire within, with arrows pointing towards the entrance of the building.
The Tenant in a leasehold property had an outstanding balance of £10,562 in service charges.
The Tenant and the property management company came to an agreement surrounding the service charge with a settlement offer for the Tenant to pay 50% of the outstanding balance and the other 50% to be waived. The Tenant paid the reduced fee, requested confirmation of the zero balance, and thought this was the end of the matter. However, despite two further requests for confirmation of a zero balance, the Managing Agent failed to respond.
The Tenant then complained adding that the Managing Agent had also failed to properly inform them of additional service charges that had subsequently been charged.
The Landlord of the Property instructed the Agent to find suitable tenants.
The Landlord made it clear to the Agent that they needed to know if potential tenants were self-employed or foreign nationals as this had implications for the rental protection insurance they had in place.
Following the market appraisal, the Agent contacted the Seller to confirm the details in the sales particulars were correct. The Seller did not raise any concerns regarding the document. The sales particulars stated that the property included a roof terrace. The property went live and marketing commenced.
The Tenants, a polyamorous throuple were looking for a place to rent. The Tenants approached the Agent to help them find a property that was suitable for their needs and also accepted pets.
In June 2020, the Agent was instructed by the Landlord to market the property to let for a monthly rent of £700. The Landlord informed the Agent he would not accept tenants with pets. The Tenants requested a viewing and the Agent arranged a viewing the following day. On the same day, the Tenants enquired if pets could be permitted. The Agent asked the Landlord who responded that he would allow pets if the rent was increased to £750 a month and the Tenants accepted the proposal.
The Buyer was interested in a property for sale by the Agent and booked a viewing with the Agent. During the initial viewing, the Property looked great and appeared to be everything they wanted. They were told that if they wished to proceed, they would be required to pay a reservation fee of £1,000 to secure the property from the market.
The Developer of a new build mixed tenure development instructed the Agent to market units to potential buyers.
The Buyer subsequently entered into a reservation agreement with the Developer and paid a reservation deposit of £5,000.
The Landlords instructed the Agent to find tenants for their property. The Agent was in charge of viewings and began to market the property in the search for tenants.
A potential tenant contacted the Agent to book a viewing around the property. The Tenant was an electric wheelchair user who thought that the property would be suitable for their needs. The Agent accepted the viewing.
Seven agents, the majority of which are now in liquidation, have been excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay compensatory awards.
A sales and lettings agent in Porth Wales, The Property Dragon Limited, has been excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay an outstanding award of £1,180.
The company has been dissolved and removed from Companies House but it appears it could now be trading as Property Solutions Wales Porth. Consumers are being warned about this possible connection and potential risk.
A sales and lettings agent in Slough, Saville Park Ltd, has been excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay an outstanding award of £300.
The Property Ombudsman received a complaint from tenants relating to repairs and maintenance of their rental property, the provision of documentation, the end of tenancy procedures, provision of the landlord's details and complaints handling.
A sales and lettings agent in Leicester, Sun Properties Leicester, has been excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay an outstanding award of £3,220.14.
The Property Ombudsman received a complaint from landlords regarding referencing checks carried out by Sun Properties Leicester on their tenant. The landlords (complainants) also said that the agent had used the tenant's deposit for rent arrears when the tenant failed to pay rent.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme has issued an updated version of its Codes of Practice for agents in the Channel Islands in order to address emerging industry issues and provide continuity in its presence across both the UK and Channel Islands. As this is the first revision to the Channel Island Codes since 2016, there has been considerable changes to incorporate factors such as GDPR requirements, dual fees and referral fees.