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Huge rise in referrals to The Property Ombudsman

There was a whopping 42 per cent rise in referrals to The Property Ombudsman last year according to the annual report for 2014, released this morning.

TPO is the largest of the three compulsory redress systems operating for sales and lettings agencies.

It says the surge in referrals is because of what it calls the general trend in the consumer world to challenge when something does not give satisfaction as well as an increase in agents joining the scheme as a result of legislation governing the lettings sector.

Six months on from the introduction of new legislation, making it a legal requirement for lettings agents and property managers in England to join a government approved redress scheme, the report indicates the number of letting offices now signed up to TPO scheme has reached a record level of 12,915.

This brings the total number of sales and lettings offices in the TPO scheme to 26,735.

Once again, there has been a significant rise in complaints concerning the private rental sector.

With an estimated 1.6m private landlords, many of whom have limited experience and understanding of their responsibilities, and large numbers of consumers seeking tenancies, the role of letting and managing agents in providing quality customer service based on a comprehensive knowledge of relevant legislation, is more important now than ever before says The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer.

Data from TPO's annual report for lettings include:

- a 19% increase in registered membership letting offices;

- a 40% rise in lettings cases received;

- a 33% increase in cases resolved via mediation;

- a 10% increase in cases resolved via formal review;

- an 11% of lettings issues reported to TPO related to repair and maintenance;

- some 54% of complainants were landlords versus 44% tenants;

- the average lettings award has risen 27% from £411.97 to £524.10;

- the regional breakdown shows 23% of complainants were from the South East, followed by Greater London (21%) the South West (9%) on par with North West (9%).

Data from TPO's annual report for sales include:

- a 14% increase in registered membership sales offices;

- a 43% rise in sales cases received;

- a 21% increase in cases resolved via mediation;

- a 13% increase in cases resolved via formal review;

- 20% of sales issues reported to TPO related to communication failure;

- 59% of complainants were sellers versus 39% buyers.

- and the regional breakdown shows 23% of complainants were from the South East, followed by Greater London (13%) & South West and Eastern Region both (11%).

The full annual report is available on www.tpos.co.uk/annual_reports.htm

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