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TPO February Member Newsletter: 3 weeks left to BOOK your early-bird conference tickets

Welcome to our February Member Newsletter. Plans for our annual conference are well underway and below you will find details of the packed line-up, what the day will entail and how you can book tickets. Every month we will also be running a profile on each of our speakers.
We're starting this month with professional speaker, consultant, trainer and author of ‘Modern Zombie Slayer’, Nick Looby.  

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;"><strong>TPO Conference Line-up Announced </strong></span>

The Property Ombudsman has announced the line-up of influential industry speakers in its annual conference, ‘Raising Standards’, taking place on 10 July 2019 at The National Conference Centre in Solihull.
Following an introduction from Baroness Warwick, Chair of TPO’s Board, conference facilitator Michael Stoop (Non-Executive Director and Chair of TPO’s Industry Forum) will guide delegates through a packed programme opening with Property Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle. Katrine will focus on the rapidly changing property landscape, its impact on agents, how TPO is adapting to these changes with significant developments to its governance, processes and Codes of Practice.

Guest Speaker
The conference will then welcome professional speaker, consultant, trainer and author of ‘Modern Zombie Slayer’, Nick Looby. With his potent and unique approach to communication, Nick’s aim is to not only alter the way delegates think, but, more importantly, transform the way they act. He comments: “Communication is at the heart of all we do – the brightest stars and the most courageous businesses are exploring new communication paradigms – raising standards and revolutionising results. I’m incredibly excited to introduce these industry leading strategies.”
Nick has helped some of the largest organisations, including HSBC, UK Power Networks, Proctor & Gamble and the BBC to greater success by enabling them to communicate with more courage, influence and purpose.

‘Be the Ombudsman’ Workshops
This year the number of interactive workshops, which are consistently the post popular element of the TPO conference, will be doubled to enable delegates to participate in both sales and lettings workshops. There will also be separate workshops run for residential leasehold management. Delegates will have the chance to work through real complaint case studies received by TPO and debate how they would handle each one, before finding out the Ombudsman’s decision.
David Cox (Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark), Mark Hayward (Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark) and Andrew Bulmer (CEO of Institute of Residential Property Management) will provide sector updates ahead of each of the relevant workshops.
Panel Debate
Taking place just a few weeks before the publication of MHCLG’s Regulation of Property Agents Working Group’s report, the day will culminate in a host of high profile and prominent property experts participating in what promises to be a lively panel debate.
This will include: -

• Lord Richard Best, OBE DL, Chair of MHCLG’s Regulation of Property Agents Working Group
• Mark Prisk, Former Housing Minister and MP for Hertford and Stortford
• Theresa Wallace, Head of Customer Service and Compliance for Savills
• Kate Faulkner, Property Market Analyst/Commentator and Managing Director of Designs on Property

Discounted Early Bird delegate tickets and exhibitor rates are available until 28th February. Early Bird ticket prices are £102 (inclusive of VAT) for TPO members and £120 (inclusive of VAT) for non-TPO members. Special rates are also available for exhibitor packages for a limited time only. This year, £5 from the sale of every ticket will also go to Agents Giving, the charity for the property industry.

Katrine Sporle, Property Ombudsman, comments:

“Following the Government’s consultation into strengthening redress in the housing market and the announcement of a Redress Reform Working Group, this year’s conference couldn’t be timelier. As the industry as a whole enters a period of evolution, we want to equip agents with the tools and knowledge to not only survive but thrive, and we believe exceptional customer service standards are at the heart of success.”

To book tickets and to keep a look out for further conference updates, please visit: -

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;"><strong>Speaker Profile:</strong></span><span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;"><strong> Nick Looby</strong></span>

Nick’s message is for you if you’re drowning in an ocean of noise and your career depends on you being heard.

Nick suggests you can (and you must) take this even further. Don’t settle for being heard but ensure that you get through! Enjoy stronger relationships at work and at home, secure incredible success with clients and loved ones and have the sort of fun you deserve through enhanced and impactful human communication.

Nick has been delighting audiences for over a decade with his insightful humor, focused observation and his power to inspire action. With his potent and unique approach to communication, Nick will not only alter the way you think, but, more importantly, transform the way you act. Nick has helped some of the largest organizations, including HSBC, UK Power Networks, Proctor & Gamble and the BBC to greater success by enabling them to communicate with more courage, influence and purpose.

"The pace of business change today has never been faster and the competition is global. Everyone is looking for a technology silver bullet but it’s so often the case of smart computers and dumb companies. Nick could be your answer. He totally understands your most important but complex asset, your people, and his technique can unleash their true potential to let engagement and productivity soar."
Mervyn Middleby: Head of Technology & Operations, BBC Northern Ireland

Nick recently appeared on the Business Intelligence show on SKY TV, reaching an even wider audience with his communication insights.

Nick is extremely proud to be among the TED family, speaking at TEDx events in 2015 at which he played a game of ‘catch’ with the entire audience and in 2017 where he opened up the debate around the dangers of our communication evolution. Both were fun-filled milestones in his development as an authority on modern communication. Nick’s latest book, Modern Zombies, published in November 2017, is shaking up the communication industry and sparking some incredibly interesting debates across all sectors.

"Nick Looby is one of the best presenters I have ever come across, his relaxed and informal approach works well and he always makes me sit up, listen and smile. Nick is a joy to watch and whenever I hear him speak I always learn something and apply it immediately! The best thing that Nick does is make you question the way you do things and he always gets you thinking. Simply Brilliant!"
Hayley Roy: Managing Director,

One of the founding partners of the 21st Century Leadership Project; Nick will demonstrate how you can revolutionise your communication environment, your interactions and your results.

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;"><strong>TPO welcomes surveyors as members</strong></span>

As of 1 January 2019, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is approved by the RICS to provide Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) on all surveying services provided to consumers. This approval extends TPO’s current approval for residential agency (lettings, estate agency and property management), making TPO the only ADR provider approved for consumer-facing disputes for all surveying services.
Following the withdrawal of Ombudsman Services: Property (OS:P) from the property sector back in August 2018, TPO received a high volume of requests from RICS member firms looking for TPO to offer redress.
Although surveying firms are not subject to mandatory redress, TPO has created a new category of membership for property professionals engaged in the provision of surveying and other property related professional services, to cover referencing companies and inventory providers. In the future, this may also be expanded to cover other gaps in the market where there is no requirement for mandatory redress.
Property Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, comments: “At a time when Government’s focus is firmly fixed on improving markets for consumers, we are keen to play our role in the future redress landscape. TPO stands for universal access by consumers to consistent, high quality alternative dispute resolution. By expanding our jurisdictions and offering a’ one-stop shop’ for help, advice and complaints handling, we can raise standards in the industry and put things right when they go wrong.”
TPO’s full list of jurisdictions now covers estate agents, letting agents, leasehold residential management, commercial and business agents, buying agents, residential property buying companies, auctions, international agents, building warranties and search providers and now, property surveyors and property professionals.

Firms that wish to join TPO as a surveyor can find the relevant information, including pricing at

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;"><strong>TPO Industry and Consumer Fora address “hot topics” </strong></span>

As part of recent governance changes, TPO has set up both a consumer and an industry forum, representative of the whole property sector including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Michael Stoop, former Vice Chairman of the Board, has taken on the role of Chair of the Industry Forum to feedback industry matters and concerns, while the Consumer Forum is chaired by Mark McLaren, an independent Board Member, previously of Which?
The purpose of the Fora is to facilitate discussion and debate around specific issues which could result in consumer detriment, and consider ways, wherever possible, to eliminate these through guidance, best practice and/or changes to TPO’s Codes of Practice.
The last meetings took place on 18th October 2018 providing an opportunity for both groups to hear from industry representatives, network and share ideas.
Two important topics arose; Dual Commission Fees and Weekly Vs Monthly rent.
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. Last year TPO received over 50 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 circumstances where dual fees could become due if a seller decides to use a second agent.

Because of the level of detail in a contract, many consumers fail to read and understand all of the information outlined, one solution is to highlight essential information on page one such as, where a seller may be liable for a dual fee.

Further work will be undertaken by TPO on the issue to provide clear guidance with case study examples.

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
Donald discussed the issue of advertising weekly versus monthly rent. 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 came to the consensus 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 using the same size font.
To support TPO agents and help them comply with regulations, TPO has obtained Assured Advice on the issue which is available here.
The Fora will meet again on 27 February, where topics such as referral fees and forthcoming leasehold guidance from NTSEAT will be discussed.