Latest TPO updates:

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.

Boost to Protection for Consumers Using Lettings Agents

Published on Wednesday, 17 April 2013. Posted in Press Releases

Housing Minister Mark Prisk has promised legislation to bring residential lettings agents within the scope of The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act, for better consumer protection.

The move has been welcomed by The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, as a positive step to raise consumer protection by giving access to an independent disputes resolution mechanism and also an opportunity to raise standards across an industry thought to handle £14 billion a year, earning £1 billion for itself in the process.

Membership Notification

Published on Friday, 05 April 2013. Posted in Press Releases

Representatives from TPO, ARLA, RICS and UKALA met with the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) on 22 March regarding the ASA ruling on disclosure of non-optional fees and charges to tenants.

CAP is the body responsible for issuing guidance on how, in practical terms, the obligations now placed on letting agents by the ASA ruling can be met. The group welcomed CAP's offer to the organisations attending the meeting for further involvement in process of defining the best approach for guidance.

TPO's Response to the Your Move Ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority

Published on Friday, 15 March 2013. Posted in Press Releases

An update from TPO regarding the ASA's recent ruling relating to the inclusion of tenant fees in advertisements

The recent ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) relating to advertisements from Your Move lettings together with the Which? mystery shopping report of four letting agents have once again brought the issue of disclosure of fees imposed on tenants to the forefront of the current debate about the Private Rented Sector.

A Festive Failing

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Mr and Mrs I (the prospective buyers and complainants) were due to exchange contracts on the property two days before Christmas but, on the day of the exchange, it was discovered that the sellers’ proposed onward purchase had suffered flood damage and was the subject of an insurance claim. Although Mr and Mrs I’s money was in place with their solicitor in readiness for exchange, given that the sellers were elderly, Mr and Mrs I did not wish for them to have to move into a water damaged property in the middle of winter. They agreed to postpone the exchange and completion until after Christmas. However, three weeks after the holidays the Agent contacted Mr and Mrs I to inform them that the sellers had accepted another offer and would not be proceeding with them. Mr and Mrs I immediately complained that the Agent had failed to keep them updated.

A Clear Description

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Mr and Mrs F, the buyers, complained that throughout the sales particulars the Agent had misdescribed the property as benefitting from double-glazing, when in fact, it did not. Mr and Mrs F stated that they had relied on this incorrect information when purchasing the property and considered that the Property Misdescriptions Act had been breached, directly resulting in them facing an estimated bill of £6,000 to install double-glazing after discovering the error after moving in.

Annual Report 2012 - Press Release

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Press Releases

Ombudsman continues to press the government to bring about legislation to regulate letting agents

In his 2012 Annual Report, The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, reiterates his call for some form of regulation of letting agents. At the very least Mr Hamer argues that all letting agents operating in the UK should be required by law to join the Ombudsman scheme.

Learning Points from the CPRs Cases

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Learning

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) require agents to take a different approach to disclosure of information about properties they are marketing from what is considered acceptable practice under the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.

 

CPRs Case 5 - Title Issue

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following the successful completion of the transaction, Miss E, the buyer, complained that the Agent did not disclose their financial interest in the property which had led to delays resulting in additional solicitor fees. The Agent denied that they held a financial interest in the property.

CPRs Case 4 - Parking Space Included?

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

This was a complaint concerning non-disclosure of information where the potential buyer, Mr D, alleged that the Agent knew that there was a dispute over the ownership of the parking space at the property but said nothing, resulting in a long drawn out transaction from which Mr D eventually withdrew.