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Rise in letting agent complaints

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

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Complaints against sales and lettings agents have risen substantially, the property ombudsman's latest report has revealed.

The study shows that 16,000 enquiries were received in 2013, a 23% increase on the previous year.

The ombudsman, Richard Hamer, said: “2013 was significant year for many reasons with industry consultations, legislation changes and regulatory reforms, including the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act receiving Royal Assent, which will make it a legal requirement for all letting agents to register with a redress scheme.

“With 10,000 letting agents already voluntarily registered with TPO by the end of 2013, 60% of the cases I reviewed resulted from landlord and tenant complaints, and I expect we will see even more in 2014 in light of the changes.”

The number of new cases referred to the ombudsman has soared by 151% since he came into the post seven years ago.

This year's figures show:

Sales
• 25% increase in complaint enquiries
• 66% increase in cases resolved via early resolution
• 70% of formal reviews were supported
• 63% of complainants were sellers
• 25% of complainants were from the South East, followed by the eastern region (14%) & North West (12%)
• 6,815 separate issues were raised – half of which related to service issues


Lettings
• 22% increase in enquiries (double the number of sales enquiries) (double since 2009 lettings)
• 13,877 separate issues were raised – half of which related to service issues
• 76% increase in cases resolved via mediation
• 33% increase in cases resolved via formal review
• 79% of formal reviews were supported
• 50% of complainants were landlords
• 26% of complainants were from the South East, followed by the South West (12%) & Greater London (19%)

Mr Hamer added: “With new enquiries now at record levels, it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the team that we’ve been able to help more consumers and agents than ever before while also expanding the scheme’s jurisdiction to welcome new buying agents, auction houses, international, commercial and residential leasehold management agents.”

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