Poor Record Keeping Can Be Agents' Undoing

Published on Tuesday, 29 May 2012. Posted in Press Releases

Keeping adequate records can make all the difference whether or not an estate agent fails to counter a complaint made to The Property Ombudsman.

In his first Interim Report of 2012, the Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, directs his attention to the industry and specifically focuses on how property transactions are recorded.

The TPO Codes of Practice, both for Sales and Lettings Agents, require the maintenance of clear and full written records of transactions for a period of six years. However, Mr Hamer points out that he still see many disputes where claims are made by either the agent or the consumer that a certain conversation took place but with neither party able to substantiate their claim as they are unable to provide any contemporaneous records.

'Enquiries received by my office in the first four months of 2012 were 19 per cent higher than the same period last year. This is reflected in my increased workload. However, despite so many agents having access to specialist sales and lettings software packages, the issue of record keeping continues to be problematic. If a complainant makes a claim and has a record which appears to substantiate that claim but the agent is unable to provide any contemporaneous evidence to counter the allegation, the result is that I can only find in the complainant's favour,' explains Mr Hamer.

The first Interim Report of 2012 explains the importance of record keeping, why it is vital that records are maintained at all times, and provides a number of case studies where record keeping proved to be the central deciding issue.