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December Newsletter

Welcome to our final newsletter of 2018. We're pleased to say that tickets for the TPO Conference 2019 are now available to purchase at a special Early Bird Rate for a limited time only. This year, £5 from the sale of every ticket will also go to Agents Giving, the charity for the the property industry. 

We'd also like to update you on our latest industry and consumer fora meetings, remind you of the importance of displaying your TPO membership and your fees, as well as the latest from The Competition and Markets Authority on business Cartels.

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We’re delighted to confirm that tickets for TPO’s 2019 Conference 'Raising Standards', taking place on Wednesday 10th July 2019, are now available. CLICK HERE

Early Bird and Returning Delegate Discount!


For a limited time only, we’re offering an Early Bird discount, as well as a further reduction for returning delegates*




*Only applicable to delegates who attended the 2018 conference.  All delegates from 2018 will now have received an email with a code which can be applied at check-out for an additional discount. 


This year, £5 from the sale of every ticket will also go to Agents Giving, the charity for the the property industry.


About the TPO Conference 2019

The TPO Conference 2019 will once again be held at the National Conference Centre in Solihull.  It promises to tackle challenges faced by the property market with more workshops, key note speakers and an ‘Expert Panel’ on the agenda, featuring a host of high profile and prominent names debating the hottest industry topics.  The whole conference will also be live streamed by our headline sponsor, Rightmove, meaning more of your staff can benefit from the day. 


Exhibitor Packages

Our Early Bird rates are also available on exhibitor packages. To reserve your space, please email: 

For more information, CLICK HERE


<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;"><strong>TPO Industry & Consumer Fora</strong></span>

In our last newsletter, we announced that The Property Ombudsman had set up both a consumer and an industry forum, representative of the whole property sector including Scotland and Wales, to discuss areas of concern from both perspectives.

The purpose of the fora, chaired by non-executive directors Michael Stoop (industry forum) and Mark McLaren (consumer forum), is to facilitate discussion and debate around specific issues which could result in consumer detriment, and consider ways to eliminate these through best practice and/or changes to the Codes of Practice.  

The last meetings took place on 18th October at The Abbey Centre, Westminster, providing an opportunity for both groups to hear from industry representatives, network and share ideas.

Presentation topics included:


1. A policy update from MHCLG - by Gavin O’Leary, Redress and Regulation Team Leader


Key points of policy intent included: -


  • Proposed three-year tenancies: The consultation response will be announced later this year
  • Regulation of property agents including the Tenant Fee Bill, Client Money Protection and new regulatory framework encompassing entry through minimum qualification
  • Strengthening consumer redress: Ministers have unveiled plans for a specialist "housing court" to speed up the settlement of property disputes between landlords and tenants
  • Details of the New Homes Ombudsman will be published later this year, as well as the response to the consultation into redress
  • Independent review into selective licensing and whether it is helping local authorities
  • Housing and Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS): The government is actively considering a review of the current framework.


2. Dual Commission Fees - looking at court cases with an emphasis on the need to further educate consumers and agents. Presented by Alison Farrar, Investigator for National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NSEAT)

In 2017, TPO received 32 cases relating to dual commission fees.  So far this year, TPO has already received 54 cases highlighting this as a growing issue. Other industry representatives also shared similar concerns.

It was agreed that transparency to the seller at every stage of the process is required and agents need to highlight the steps that will be taken if a seller decides to use a different agent.

Owing to the level of detail in a contract, many consumers fail to read and understand all of the information outlined, it was suggested that page one of any contract should highlight essential information, such as the circumstances in which a seller may be liable for a dual fee.

3. Weekly Vs Monthly Rent - Analysis of the potential issues caused by agents advertising rent weekly rather than monthly
, by Donald Silcock Civil Advisor, Trading Standards, Westminster City Council


The point was raised that since most tenants do not have the option to pay rent weekly, advertising the price of a property per week, without clearly indicating the monthly cost alongside, could be misleading to consumers.

Many consumers make the mistake of multiplying the weekly figure by 4 (rather than by 52 and dividing by 12) leading them to believe the rent is, in some cases, significantly lower than it is.

The fora agreed that advertising the weekly price of rent is acceptable, particularly as many agents in London have done this for many years.  However, all agreed it should be clearly written alongside the monthly rent, and using the same size font. TPO will look to provide Primary Authority Guidance on the issue in the New Year. 


<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;"><strong>Is Your TPO Logo on Show?</strong></span>


 As we near the end of another year, the imminent arrival of New Year brings with it an opportunity for us all to reflect and commit to a series of New Year Resolutions.

Our priority is making sure every TPO agent meets their legal obligation to display their Ombudsman membership, their tenant and landlord fees and whether they belong to a Client Money Protection scheme.

It has been a requirement since 27 May 2015 (Section 83 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015) for all lettings agents and managing agents in England and Wales display these details so consumers can easily find them.

Trading Standards Officers carry out spot checks and can impose fines of up to £5000 for any firm that fails to comply.

We are urging all members to review their branch windows, printed materials and websites, to ensure they are compliant.
Here is a checklist and guidance produced by Westminster Trading Standards to assist you in passing any visit from your local Trading Standards Office. The guidance is detailed and is supported by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. The guidance can be found HERE.

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">CMA Stop Cartels Campaign</span>

Last month, the CMA called for more whistle-blowers to expose business cartels with the launch of a national awareness campaign.


It comes as new research shows many firms don’t know enough about how to comply with competition law.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) latest cartel awareness campaign aims to educate businesses about which practices are illegal and urges people to come forward if they suspect a business has taken part in cartel behaviour, such as fixing prices or rigging contracts.

ICM research released by the CMA today to coincide with the campaign shows that out of amongst 1,000 companies surveyed:

  • Only 57% knew it was illegal to fix prices
  • Nearly half either didn’t know or thought it was legal to discuss prices with competing bidders when quoting for new work (23% said ‘don’t know’, and 25% actually thought it was legal).
  • Significantly more than half (59%) didn’t know or thought that dividing up and sharing customers with rivals was legal (24% said ‘don’t know’ and 35% actually thought it was legal).


Howard Cartlidge, Senior Director of Cartels at the CMA, said:

“Businesses that fix prices or rig contracts are breaking the law and ripping people off. 

“The victims are customers and other businesses, who are getting cheated out of a fair deal. 

“We know that the vast majority of businesses want to do the right thing, but pleading ignorance simply isn’t good enough. Today’s campaign makes it easy to find out the facts. 

“If you know of something illegal – do the right thing and tell us about it.”  

The campaign is targeting industries including construction, manufacturing, recruitment, estate agents and property managers.