Sales agents across the country celebrate their success at national awards and fly the flag for TPO
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark McLaren to the TPO Council. He joins following nine years with Which?, the largest consumer body in the UK.
Two more agents, A S Moon & Partners, a sales and letting agent based in Northumberland, and CityWest.co.uk Limited, a sales and letting agent based in Hounslow, have been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for a minimum of two years. Both had failed to comply with parts of the TPO Codes of Practice, failed to co-operate fully with the Ombudsman’s investigations following complaints and failed to pay awards made.
After thirteen successful years with The Property Ombudsman (TPO), twelve years as Board Chairman of TPO, Bill McClintock will be officially standing down on 1st January 2016, and Gerry Fitzjohn, currently Vice Chairman of the Board, has been appointed to take up the position.
Following the recent announcement from the Home Office that from 1st February 2016, the Right to Rent scheme will be extended across England, and several industry press articles, Christopher Hamer, the Property Ombudsman, has issued a warning to agents about their responsibilities under the new checks.
The latest interim report released by The Property Ombudsman reveals more than half of the 9141 enquiries received related to lettings disputes, nearly double that of sales. This not only reinforces the importance of legislation introduced a year ago, making it a legal requirements for all letting agents in England to register with an approved redress scheme, but has left Christopher Hamer, Property Ombudsman, calling for a Property Agents Act.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme has issued a supplementary membership guidance note to help agents understand their obligations under the revised Codes of Practice and ensure compliance with the Competition Act. The revised codes, came into effect on 1st October 2015 and were approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme has today (1st October) issued amended and updated versions of all its Codes of Practice for UK and Scotland in order to support the introduction of new legislation that has come into force within the last 12 months.
The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer recently attended an event organised by Sunderland City Council to promote its Accredited Landlord's Scheme, a new partnership launched to improve and maintain standards of accommodation in the private rented sector. Christopher spoke about the importance of the redress scheme explaining what TPO represents, how he operates and his role as the Ombudsman.
Bruten & Co Limited, a sales and lettings agent based in Notting Hill Gate, London, has been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for a minimum of two years after failing to comply with parts of the Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents and failing to pay an Ombudsman's award made of £768 to complainants.
Allen & Crane Estates, a sales and lettings agent based in Burnham near Slough, has been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for a minimum of two years after failing to comply with numerous elements of the Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents and subsequently failing to pay an Ombudsman’s award made of £1,600 to the complainants.
MT Properties Central Limited (MTPC), a sales and letting agent which operates in Birmingham, has been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for a minimum of two years after failing to comply with parts of the TPO Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents. MTPC also failed to co-operate with the Ombudsman’s investigation and to date has not paid the award made of £2,300.
The decision to expel MTPC from TPO membership arose following a complaint from landlords relating to a number of aspects of the agent’s service in connection with tenancies at two properties. The Ombudsman found evidence of poor record keeping and administration, and upheld complaints about the collection and payment of rent to landlords, as well as poor service.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme is delighted to officially announce its upcoming conference called “Raise Your Standards” which will take place on 14th October at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull.
Gerry Fitzjohn, Vice Chairman of TPO Ltd, said: “TPO Conference 2015 has been in planning for some months, and we can now inform member and non-member estate and letting agents about the event and its benefits. The aim behind its launch has been simple; to help raise standards and improve customer service within the property industry. TPO work in a field that is continuously developing with new legislation and regulation being introduced all the time, therefore education is key. This conference will provide attendees with 4 hours of CPD (Continuous Professional Development) through well-known industry guest speakers all offering their professional expertise on a range of relevant and interesting topics as well as practical workshops, including one run by the Ombudsman Christopher Hamer which will put individuals in the place of a TPO case officer.”
Two members of staff, one from The Property Ombudsman the other from Northwood UK, switched roles for a week in order to gain greater experience and knowledge of each other’s positions within the industry.
The exchange was instigated by Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer as part of TPO’s ongoing application to raise standards within the industry. Hamer commented “It is important to emphasise the need for agents to deal promptly and professionally with complaints and equally it is hugely beneficial for my office to be aware of the practical issues agents face when trying to resolve matters themselves. This exchange will, I hope, help bring about a good understanding of the challenges agents might come up against before unresolved disputes are referred to me. It will also help educate on the meticulous process which occurs in my office prior to determining resolution of a dispute.”
After nine successful years as the Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer’s term of office is coming to an end. On 30 November 2015 he will be officially standing down.
The independent TPO Council together with the TPO Board Chairman, Bill McClintock, have began the search to fill the position. Christopher will however remain as Ombudsman for the next few months where he will continue to generally represent the scheme. He will be handing over to his successor on 30 November.