Shortly after the sale of their property, Mr and Mrs E (the Sellers) raised three complaints against the Agent concerning access to their property, a number of viewings and the provision of the Memorandum of Sale.
Mr and Mrs E had advised the Agent that, due to them keeping a large dog and the property’s location next to a busy road, under no circumstances was the key to the property be used without their prior permission. However, following an access request by the buyer’s surveyor, the Agent failed to check the file and issued the key. The result of this oversight resulted in the dog leaving the house and the surveyor having to take refuge in his car until the dog returned to the property and he was able to shut the door. Fortunately, the dog did not bite the surveyor or enter the road potentially causing an accident. Unfortunately, it was also the case that the Agent ignored Mr and Mrs E’s request for accompanied viewings, which resulted in a number of occasions where the Agent had telephoned them at their place of work to request that they facilitate the viewing as the potential buyer was waiting on the doorstep. On one occasion this occurred whilst Mr and Mrs E were over 300 miles away on holiday, despite them previously informing the Agent of their travel plans. Finally, the Agent was unable to provide any evidence to indicate that they had issued the Memorandum of Sale to Mr and Mrs E’s solicitors (which, crucially, included a four week timescale for exchange of contracts) or that they had subsequently monitored the transaction and reported information deemed helpful to achieving a successful conclusion.
The Agent had previously offered Mr and Mrs E a goodwill gesture of £250 for the issues concerning the keys and viewings. However, given that I had supported all of the complaints made, I did not consider this to be an appropriate resolution. Accordingly, an award of £350 was made.
When an agent holds the keys to a property and is charged with accompanying all viewings, they have a specific responsibility to ensure that seller’s instructions are followed precisely and that the property and its contents are not placed at risk.