Our formal review of your complaint
When will I know if you are going to review my complaint?
When you first contact us with your complaint, we will let you know we have received it and when we expect to confirm if we can review it. We aim to let you know within 15 working days, so if you don’t hear from us in that time, please get in touch again.
How will TPO judge my complaint?
The Adjudicator will look at the evidence given to us by you and the Agent. They will use our Codes of Practice, legal principles, common sense and what is fair and reasonable in the specific circumstances of your case to decide whether the Agent has acted fairly. If the Adjudicator has any questions or needs more information, they will get in touch with you or the business.
Our codes set the professional standards of practice we expect from TPO members – you can see them on our website here or ask the agent for a copy.
Remember we offer an alternative to the Court process and do not make decisions on points of law. The decision the Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman makes may therefore not always be the same as those reached in a Court.
Can I ask for a hearing in front of the Property Ombudsman (an oral hearing)?
In most cases, we resolve complaints using the written evidence you and the agent send us. However, we will consider an oral hearing. This is when you give your side of the story face to face, rather than providing everything in writing.
If you ask for an oral hearing, we will consider your circumstances and your case. We may use an oral hearing if it will make the process more accessible for you – for example if you have difficulty providing or understanding written evidence. We may also consider it for other reasons, for example if your complaint brings up issues of credibility or you and the agent disagree on facts and we cannot decide the best way forward with written evidence. Depending on the circumstances either one or both parties will be present at the oral hearing.
An oral hearing is not like a court hearing. We cannot treat evidence like a judge would. For example, we can’t question or cross examine people under oath. So we take what each party says as their version of events. This means you need to be able to back up what you say at the hearing with the evidence you send us, so it is not just one person’s word against another’s.
We use the European Convention on Human Rights to decide whether the hearing should be public or private.
If you would like an oral hearing, please write to The Property Ombudsman, Milford House, 43-55 Milford Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2BP. Please explain your reasons so we can decide whether or not they could affect the final decision. If we don’t agree to an oral hearing, we’ll write to let you know why.
Can you still review my complaint if it has been to court?
In line with our Terms of Reference, we cannot consider complaints or parts of complaints that have been through the courts.
If you have been to court about your complaint, or any part of it, we will need a copy of the judgement to see if we can do our review. If we can, we will only consider the elements the court didn’t cover. For example, if the court case was about an unpaid fee, we can still review the service you received from the agent if it was not included in your defence.
What if a court date has been set for the agent’s claim for their fees?
In line with our Terms of Reference, we cannot consider complaints or parts of complaints that have been through the courts. If the agent does make a court claim for your payment and the hearing is set for more than three months away, we will carry on with our review. If the hearing is set for less than three months away, we will have to suspend our review.
You could apply to the court for an adjournment on the grounds you want to contact us. However, if the hearing goes ahead and a judgement is made, we will need a copy of it to see if we can carry on with our review. If we can, we will carry on after the court case, but we will only be able to consider the elements the case didn’t cover. For example, if the court case was about an unpaid fee, we can still review the service you received from the agent if it was not included in your defence.