Latest TPO updates:

Ombudsman Christopher Hamer Responds to Yesterday's Dispatches Programme Aired on Channel 4:

Published on Tuesday, 29 October 2013. Posted in Press Releases

Channel 4 Dispatches has raised an important matter. We were contacted by the filmmakers and stressed the point to them that too many consumers are unaware that these practices are illegal and therefore fail to complain.

The key issue at the heart of this matter is consumer education. We hope programmes such as these assist in raising awareness and educating consumers so they understand their rights and can identify when and how to complain.

 

TPO Expels London Agent

Published on Friday, 06 September 2013. Posted in Press Releases

Lexton Property Services failed to pay tenant and landlord awards upheld by the Ombudsman following several persistent breaches of TPO's Lettings Code of Practice.

Lexton Property Services, a former lettings agent, has been expelled and refused future membership from The Property Ombudsman scheme (TPO) for a minimum of three years following several serious breaches of its Code of Practice.

TPO Expels Agent for Failure to Pay Tenant Award

Published on Friday, 06 September 2013. Posted in Press Releases

London Rentals UK expelled from TPO full membership for two years following a serious breach of TPO's Code of Practice.

London Rentals UK has been refused renewal of its membership with The Property Ombudsman scheme (TPO) for two years following its failure to pay an award as directed by the Ombudsman following his review of a complaint.

Ombudsman Scheme Expels Yorkshire Estate Agency

Published on Thursday, 18 July 2013. Posted in Press Releases

WYL Ltd, a Yorkshire sales and lettings estate agency, has been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman scheme due to a failure to pay the Ombudsman's award and other breaches of the Code of Practice.

WYL Ltd, of 1 Russell Street, Keighley, BD21 2JU, had committed serious breaches of the TPO Lettings Code of Practice and failed to pay an award of £3,450 made against it by the Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer.

The Property Ombudsman Welcomes Government Support for a Code of Practice for Letting Agents

Published on Thursday, 18 July 2013. Posted in Press Releases

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) responds to new report published by the Communities and Local Government Committee on the Private Rental Sector published today

As the UK's largest property ombudsman scheme, with more than 22,000 sales and lettings branches registered, Ombudsman Christopher Hamer was invited to present evidence during the Select Committee's recent investigation into the Private Rental Sector.

The Property Ombudsman Reveals Why Client Money Protection Is a Necessity for the UK Lettings Market

Published on Monday, 15 July 2013. Posted in Press Releases

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme has backed calls by its registered agents and the industry to make Client Money Protection (CMP) cover available to all UK lettings agents.

Up until this month, CMP cover was only available through a number of trade bodies. The introduction of two new CMP providers this month will enable letting agents that are not registered with a trade body to sign up for cover.

Interim Report July 2013

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Press Releases

In the Ombudsman's first Interim Report for 2013, Christopher Hamer focusses on the impact of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) for the day-to-day business operations of estate and letting agents.

The report has been produced for the 22,0001 sales and lettings offices registered with The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme and provides case studies, commentary and guidance to assist agents in meeting their obligations under the CPRs.

Furnished or Unfurnished

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The tenants, Mr and Mrs F, viewed the property whilst the previous tenant was in occupation. The property was being marketed by the Agent as unfurnished. However, when the tenancy started the bedrooms contained some furniture which Mr and Mrs F did not require. They raised a complaint three days after the tenancy started concerning the contents, condition and cleanliness of the property. Mr and Mrs F requested an immediate termination of the tenancy and the return of the rental and deposit monies paid to the Agent.

Drainage Problems - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

After moving into the property, the tenants, Mr and Mrs E contacted the Agent to inform them of bad smells emanating from the kitchen. The Agent reported the matter to the landlord however, the issue took five months to resolve and at one point the toilets could not be used when sewage from the inspection pit overflowed into the neighbours’ driveway. After discussing the matter in some detail with the landlord, Mr and Mrs E complained that Agent had been aware that the property had suffered from a history of drainage problems but had withheld that information from them prior to the start of the tenancy.

 

The Neighbours - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Shortly after moving in to the property the tenant expressed his dissatisfaction surrounding the noise levels coming from the neighbouring property. The tenant stated that he had asked the Agent during the viewing who was occupying the next door property and was informed that it was a family. However, after moving into the property it became apparent that the next door neighbours were students who had a propensity for playing loud music long into the night. The tenant agreed with the landlord, Mrs D, to end the tenancy early. Mrs D then complained to the Agent that they had misrepresented the property to the tenant which directly caused her loss of rent following a vacant period of three months.

Shed Conversion - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The potential tenants, Mr and Mrs B signed the tenancy agreement several weeks in advance of the tenancy starting. However, during their moving preparations, the Agent informed them of the landlord’s intention to develop the shed in the garden into a studio for him to work from. Mr and Mrs B were understandably unhappy about the situation (especially as Mrs B intended to work from home) and considered the property to be no longer suitable. Despite the Agent’s attempts to negotiate a solution, Mr and Mrs B withdrew from the transaction and all monies paid were returned to them. However, they were faced with the inconvenience of finding another property at short notice and asserted that the Agent had known about the landlord’s plans at an early stage but had failed to disclose the same.

False Credentials - Banned Practice

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

As part of a dispute arising from additional and unauthorised work carried out by a gardener at the property, Mr A, the tenant, raised a number of complaints against the Agent, one of which was that the Agent had falsely claimed membership of a wellknown trade body.

An Undropped Kerb - Misleading Action

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

After purchasing the property Mr and Mrs F began to experience problems with other drivers parking in front of their property and blocking their access to the hard-standing in their front garden where they parked their car. After investigating the matter with the Highways Department, it became clear that unless the kerb was dropped, other drivers were entitled to park in such a manner which restricted access. Mr and Mrs F noted that the property particulars referred to the property as benefitting from off-street parking, yet the Highways Department had informed them that it was illegal to drive over a pavement where the kerb had not been dropped to access the space. They subsequently complained to the Agent, seeking the cost of dropping the kerb as compensation.

Freehold and Leasehold - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Having purchased the property which was sold as a three bedroom detached house, the buyers, Mr and Mrs E, complained that the Agent had not informed them, either during viewings or via the particulars, that the property actually consisted of two parts; a freehold title on the former ground floor shop and a leasehold title for the former first floor flat. Mr and Mrs E also claimed that the rear garden was not included in the sale, despite it being detailed within the sales particulars.

Freehold, Leasehold or Commonhold? - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following Miss D’s offer being accepted and the memorandum of sale issued, her solicitor informed her that the tenure of the property was not freehold and was in fact a shared ownership leasehold property. Miss D subsequently withdrew from the transaction and alleged that the Agent had misdescribed the property as being freehold.

Loft not included - Misleading Action

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

In this case Mr C was attempting to purchase a flat with the intention of converting the loft space and letting it to a lodger to help him pay the mortgage. He was initially informed by the Agent that the loft space belonged to the flat. However, on checking the lease, his solicitor found that this was not the case and the sale fell through, by which time Mr C said that he had incurred costs in the region of £700 and sought compensation from the Agent.

Planning Permission 1 - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

After viewing the property and making an acceptable offer, the potential buyer, Mr A, found out through his solicitor that there were planning permission and title issues. Mr A subsequently complained to the Agent that this information had not been divulged or included in the sales particulars. The Agent argued that reference had been made to the planning issue and commented that it was not their role to investigate the title of the property.