The majority of complaints about estate agents involve lettings, the Property Redress Scheme (PRS) has revealed within its 2019 annual report.
Some 77% of all complaints to PRS last year were about property rentals with the rest made up of sales (15%) and tenancy or property management (8%).
Among those complaining about letting agents, the most common reason – at a third of all cases – involved disputes over holding deposits.
The organisation, which is part of the Hamilton Fraser family of companies, saw significant growth in the number of estate agents joining its scheme rising from 8,608 members in 2018 to 12,249 by the end of last year.
This growth prompted a 50% increase in complaints about members to 1,444 last year of which 601 were investigated and 66 expelled for non-compliant, although 12 were later reinstated.
The average award made to complainants was £1,224.81 and the scheme awarded £616,000 in total. Its highest award was £25,000.
“We aim to provide the best service for our members, which is why we’ve focused on reducing the time it takes to resolve a complaint using early resolution,” says Sean Hooker (left), Head of Redress at the PRS.
“We’ve got this down to just 42 days from complaint to closure, 16 days less than the previous period.
“We hope to continue to improve this record, which is why we launched our tenancy mediation service earlier this year.
“Not only will that help agents resolve issues faster, but it will also help with compliance as all parties will have worked together to bring the complaint to a resolution.”