Buying agent slams TPO as ‘fat and lazy’ and signs up to competitor

Outspoken buying agent, Henry Pryor, has switched redress schemes, joining the PRS with a parting diatribe against The Property Ombudsman scheme.


Buying agent and industry commentator, Henry Pryor (main pic), has switched redress schemes, dropping The Property Ombudsman (TPO) in favour of  the newer, cheaper provider, The Property Redress Scheme (PRS).

In comments to The Negotiator, he branded TPO scheme “fat and lazy” and tweeted that it was too expensive for smaller agents.

In England, a letting agent or property management agent who does not join an approved consumer redress scheme can be fined up to £5,000 by the local authority and ultimately closed down if they continue to operate illegally.

In the UK, estate agents who continue to work without being a member of a consumer redress scheme may be fined £1000 with the potential to receive a formal warning or be forced to close the business. In Wales, all letting agents and landlords are required to register with Rent Smart Wales.

The Property Ombudsman Scheme has been in existence since 1990 and is not-for-profit,  impartial and independent ombudsman service, resolving disputes between consumers and property agents. It’s a highly respected organisation in the residential property industry.

The Property Redress Scheme is relative newcomer, wholly owned by the Hamilton Fraser insurance group (HFIS Ltd) which runs other well-known businesses in the residential property industry, such as My Deposits – so has much deeper pockets than the not-for-profit TPO.

The PRS has been running for just over eight years and is authorised by DLUHC and the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team to provide redress for estate, lettings and property management agents.

Twitter departure

But Pryor took to Twitter yesterday to announce his departure from the TPO scheme telling his 36,000 followers: “Sad to be leaving @TPOmb after 14 years but 2023 rates are simply uncompetitive for a small estate agency business.”

tweet“Pleased to have joined @PropertyRedress which seems much more business-like so far,” he added.

Pryor told The Neg: “I’ve been involved with TPO since the beginning but before Christmas they got in touch and said that the cost of living was having an impact on them like everyone else and that they would be putting their fees up.

“I’m not as vulnerable as some of the smaller firms but why should I be subsidising the bigger firms?

“The PRS scheme is just as good as uses the same codes of practice. It’s stupid that there are two consumer redress schemes as it is but, in my view, the TPO has gotten fat and lazy and I’m not going to be taken advantage of.

“If everyone is paying the same pro rata then what are they doing with all the money?

“We don’t need any more regulations in estate agency we just need existing regulations to be enforced properly.”

Tim Frome, Head of Partnerships, PRS

The PRS’s Tim Frome told The Neg: “It was a very pleasant surprise to receive a message from an agent friend of mine that Henry had tweeted about joining the PRS. We pride ourselves on having a simple joining process and giving agents choice on membership model to suit their business needs. Having been in operation since 2014 we now have close to 18,000 members and are the largest lettings scheme by member branches.”

The Property Ombudsman Scheme was approached for comment and asked that its message to members announcing the price rise be made public. It can be read here.


What's your opinion?

Back to top button