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The Property Ombudsman's Annual Report Reveals Record Levels of Complaints and Enquiries

Published on Thursday, 15 May 2014. Posted in Press Releases

New report reveals 23% increase in enquiries with lettings disputes representing 60% of consumer complaints.

The latest Annual Report from The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, reveals a substantial increase in the number of consumer enquiries and complaints against sales and lettings agents, with 16,000 enquiries received in 2013, a 23% increase on the previous year.

The Property Ombudsman launches Code of Practice for the newly-formed National Association of Property Buyers

Published on Wednesday, 14 May 2014. Posted in Press Releases

The Property Ombudsman launches Code of Practice for the newly-formed National Association of Property Buyers

New national trade association created to raise standards in the 'Quick House Sale Sector' following OFT Market Study.

Some of the UK's largest and best-known property buying companies have collaborated with the Property Ombudsman (TPO) to create a new Code of Practice1 to address the issues raised in the Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) market study into the 'Quick House Sale' sector2.

The Property Ombudsman Receives Government Approval to Provide Lettings Redress

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Press Releases

New legislative changes will make it a legal requirement for all letting agents to register with a redress scheme.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has approved The Property Ombudsman (TPO) to provide a free and independent redress service to landlords and tenants as part of new legislative changes affecting letting agents.

Wash with Problems

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The complainants, Mr and Mrs J, bought a property in the knowledge that five months prior to making their offer the property had been flooded. The property was situated near the sea and a river. A year after the purchase, the property was flooded again and, according to Mr and Mrs J, was at risk to flooding on an additional three separate occasions. Mr and Mrs J alleged that the Agent withheld information and deceived them about the true nature of the risk of flooding.

A Licence to Rent

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Mr and Mrs I, the buyers, were investors who approached the Agent with a view to buying a rental property suitable for their needs. The Agent duly provided them with the details of the property which included rental values and was being sold with a sitting tenant. Mr and Mrs I proceeded to purchase the property, however, two years later, after being contacted by the local council, Mr and Mrs I complained to Agent that they had neglected to inform them that the property fell under the Council’s selective licensing scheme which, in their opinion had devalued the property.

Storage Not Included

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

In this case the potential buyers, Mr and Mrs H, viewed the property four times before entering into negotiations where a mutually agreeable price was agreed. However, during the conveyancing process it came to light that the storage arrangements described on the draft sales particulars did not form part of the sale. Unfortunately, the transaction broke down and Mr and Mrs H sought reimbursement of their costs from the Agent.

More Problems Down Below

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Upon making an agreeable offer, the potential buyers, Mr and Mrs G proceeded to instruct solicitors and a surveyor. Unfortunately, during this process it came to light that the basement, described in the sales particulars as having been converted to a further room that could be used a bedroom, did not have the required permission. Mr and Mrs G withdrew from the transaction and complained that the Agent’s sales particulars had misled them.

West Is Not the New East

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following her purchase of the property, the buyer, Ms F, asserted that the Agent had misrepresented the property by listing incorrect directional aspects on the sales particulars and that, as a result of this misinformation she would experience ongoing inconvenience until such times as she sold the property.

Associated Services

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following the completion of the purchase, the buyer, Miss E, raised a number of complaints with the Agent regarding the pressure placed on her to use their associated conveyancing service, their record keeping concerning her offers and their subsequent complaint handling process.

Cultivating the Boundries

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following her successful purchase of the property, Mrs D, the buyer, complained that the Agent had failed to disclose that that the sellers did not own the entire garden (as depicted in the sales particulars) and were, at that time, in the process of obtaining possessionary title for the land that they did not own but which they had cultivated as their garden.

A Secret Garden

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The Agent marketed the property, (which formed part of an estate that the Agent had managed for over ten years), as in need of modernisation and updating. The potential buyer, Mr C, was fully aware of this fact when offering for the property however, he argued that he did not become aware that there was actually no garden; that the property was listed; and that it had septic tank drainage located on someone else’s land until some way into the transaction.

A Transparent Issue

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

In this case, Mr and Mrs A, the potential buyers, claimed that the Agent failed to check the PVCu windows and doors which had been installed by the sellers were compatible with the property’s grade II listed status, adding that this had caused them to enter into a long and drawn out transaction that did not proceed to fruition.

Re-Depositing the Problem

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following the end of the tenancy and the tenant, Miss J, not receiving her deposit monies, she complained that Agent had failed to keep her informed about which protection scheme the deposit was registered with; that the Agent had not advised her how to dispute the landlord’s claims on the deposit and that the Agent had transferred the deposit to the landlord without her agreement. In addition, Miss J pointed out that despite requesting the same, the Agent had failed to provide her with the name and contact address of the landlord within the required timescale.

Blot on the Landscape

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

A few days after moving in to the property, Mrs H, the tenant, arrived home to find the boundary hedge removed and her countryside view replaced with a substantial building site relating to the neighbour’s building project. Mrs H complained to the Agent that had she known that the countryside property was to be next to a building site for a prolonged period, she would not have applied for the tenancy. The Agent claimed that they were unaware that building works were being planned and stated that, as the landlords had already paid Mrs H an amount in compensation, the matter had already been dealt with.

Cold Nights, Warm Days

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The prospective tenants, Mr and Miss G, claimed that the Agent had misled them by stating that the property benefited from electric night storage heaters when, in fact, they were ordinary electric heaters. Upon finding out this information Mr and Miss G withdrew from the tenancy and asked for a refund of their holding deposit. The Agent refused, claiming that the prospective tenants had not asked them to investigate the matter.

An Expensive Conversation

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The day after Mr and Mrs F, the prospective tenants, viewed the property, they paid the Agent a holding deposit of £280. Later the same day the landlord accepted their offer however, the next day, for reasons undisclosed, Mr and Mrs F withdrew from the proposed tenancy and requested the return of their monies. The Agent refused, pointing out that as per the terms and conditions of that payment, following the landlord’s acceptance of their offer, the holding deposit became non-refundable.

A Tale of Two Tenancies

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Upon application for the tenancy, the prospective tenants, Mr and Miss D, were charged a holding deposit/administration fee of £500 which, following their references being declined, was withheld by the Agent. Mr and Miss D complained that the fee was unfair, especially as the Agent had not fully considered all of the referencing information provided.

Serial Fraudster

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following the tenancy commencing problems arose in relation to the credibility of the tenants following a request from a third party for the refund of £6,700 paid from their credit card without their permission for the deposit and advance rent. The Landlords, Mr and Mrs C, subsequently complained that the Agent (instructed on a tenant find only basis) had failed to undertake the necessary referencing checks on the tenants which, had they done so, would have exposed the applicants as serial fraudsters.

Problems Down Below

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The prospective tenant, Mr B, viewed the property (a ground floor flat) that was advertised as benefitting from a cellar. At the time of the viewing Mr B and the Agent discovered that the stairs to the cellar had been broken by a contractor who had been working in the property. The contractor had not reported the damage to the Agent or the landlord. According to the Agent, he informed Mr B that he would be surprised if the landlord would mend the stairs. The comment was subsequently disputed by Mr B, following his withdrawal from the transaction, who claimed that the Agent had told him to pay an administration fee of £120 and that they would let him know what was to happen with the cellar.