Prominent Labour politician unaware of agent redress rules

Abena Oppong-Asare asked a minister if the Government was considering making it mandatory for agents to sign up to an ombudsman.

labour abena appong redress

With Labour optimistic of winning next year’s expected General Election, the party’s MPs are coming under increased scrutiny.

So, it is perhaps surprising that a member of the Labour shadow ministerial team should be unaware that estate agents have to belong to a property redress or ombudsman scheme.

Impact of membership question

Abena Oppong-Asare (main picture), who was formerly a shadow treasury minister and currently has Labour’s women’s health and mental health brief, doesn’t seem to know this.

She asked a question in the House of Commons about whether the Government had assessed the possible impact of making it mandatory to be a member of a scheme.

“To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of making membership of the Property Ombudsman scheme mandatory for registered estate agents,” she asked.

Terse reply

Rachel Maclean, Minister speaking for Housing Secretary Michael Gove, gave a terse answer referring the MP to a previous answer.

“It is already a legal requirement for letting and managing agents in England and Wales, and residential sales (estate) agents in the UK, to belong to one of the two Government approved redress schemes,” she said in June in response to a question from fellow Tory MP Gareth Johnson, who also seemed to be unaware of the rules.

Choice of schemes

Agents have a choice over which scheme to belong to, with membership of The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme open to them.

The Property Ombudsman Scheme (TPO) has been in existence since 1990, and resolves disputes between consumers and property agents.

The Property Redress Scheme (PRS) is a relative newcomer, having been running since 2014, and is authorised by the Government and the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team.

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