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Complaints about estate agents jumped by a third in 2020, says TPO

Ombudsman says part of the reason is that its new portal makes it easier to make contact and begin complaints process.

Nigel Lewis

tpo make a complaint estate agent

The number of people seeking to lodge a complaint about estate agents jumped by a third last year despite the housing market closure, says The Property Ombudsman (TPO).

TPO says the main reason for the surge in enquiries is that, in February 2020 its ‘Make a Complaint’ portal was launched and proved a success, with some 150,000 people paying a visit.

Some 13,000 of the 39,285 who made first contact came via the portal, its annual report says.

Some 34,000 of these were resolved at first contact while 5,122 were accepted, or which 4,181 were ‘complex cases’.

Just 2,907 were supported by TPO and awards made totalling £1.9 million. The ombudsman expelled 19 agents in total last year for non-payment of awards.

Lettings continues to create almost half of all cases, with sales generating 29% and block management the rest.

Largest awards

The largest awards were £20,838 (lettings), £24,139 (sales) and £10,642 (RLM), and the average awards were £612, £653 and £339 respectively.

TPO says the top causes of complaints about estate agents were management for lettings and communication and record keeping for sales, with complaints handling as the top cause for RLM disputes being referred to TPO.

Link to The Property OmbudsmanProperty Ombudsman Rebecca Marsh (pictured) says: “Our customer services team responded to another record volume of consumer enquiries with an ever-increasing number of people opting to contact us via TPO’s complaints portal, launched in February 2020.

“The pandemic is not over yet, so it will be interesting to see if this trend continues or adjusts as we slowly get back to normal.

They may not – Marsh says enquiry level so far this year are already showing further year-on-year increases and that she expects this to continue as the impact of the pandemic on peoples’ relationships with their homes continues to play out.”

August 23, 2021

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