TPO letting agent branches exceed 10,000 for the first time.
Letting agencies membership for The Property Ombudsman scheme now exceeds 10,000 branches for the first time - the milestone number was passed at the beginning of May.
TPO extended its jurisdiction to cover lettings agencies in 2006, 16 years after it first recruited residential sales agents as the Ombudsman for Corporate Estate Agents. Its operations expanded to cover smaller agencies as the Ombudsman for Estate Agents, becoming The Property Ombudsman scheme in May, 2009.
'We started 2013 with 9,750 lettings branches so are delighted to have passed the milestone 10,000 letting branches in membership,' said TPO chief operating officer Gerry Fitzjohn.
'TPO welcomes the housing minister Mark Prisk's recent announcement that all lettings agents will be required to join a redress scheme such as TPO but we still have to work out the detail with the Government as to how this change will be implemented.
'Given that 10,000 letting branches are already voluntarily members of TPO it is clear that we will be able to make a major contribution to those discussions. Those agents are signed up to our comprehensive code of practice, providing consumers with clear understanding of the service standards they can expect of TPO agents, who make up a majority of the industry.
'The code gives consumers confidence they will be treated fairly and that risk to them is reduced because there is a process for resolving disputes that may arise.'
TPO also covers 12,000 residential sales offices in addition to 1,359 commercial property agencies, and 237 dealing with international property sales.
Although funded by member firms, The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, is appointed by an independent council which oversees the operation of the scheme. Neither consumers nor member agents pay a fee to have disputes resolved.