A PropTech firm claims more effective use of technology and automation by letting agents could reduce the number of complaints made against them.
The claim follows the recent annual report from The Property Ombudsman redress scheme which showed an increase in complaints against its letting agent members.
On the lettings side, there were 1,997 formal complaints resolved in 2016 (1.6 per cent more than the year before). Some 76 per cent of complaints against letting agents were supported by TPO.
Of the complaints, 51 per cent were made by tenants while 45 per cent of complaints were made by landlords. The average compensation award ordered by TPO was £531 but the redress scheme’s highest award last year - £21,972 - was against a lettings agency.
Now PayProp says pinch-points producing complaints - management, communications and record keeping, for example - could be helped by agents using more technology.
“It can stamp out incorrect handling of some steps by helping with management, communications, and record keeping; and it can also be used to track and trace wrongdoing. Although it can’t stop an agent doing anything illegal, it can help provide insurmountable evidence and an indelible audit trail” suggests Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp in the UK.
“It gives rogue agents less to hide behind and helps to make sure that agents are acting in landlords’ interests” he says.