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The Property Ombudsman June Newsletter 

Dear Member, 

We've had a very busy couple of months with the release of our Annual Report, the launch of NEW Codes of Practice, and our upcoming Conference, some of which you will already have read about. 
With just 6 weeks to go, if you haven't booked your tickets for our National Conference on 10th July, you can do so by clicking here.

For more news, read on....

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">Complaints to TPO rise by 16% in 2018</span>

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has released its 2018 annual report reflecting ever-increasing consumer demand for the service.

The report reveals TPO received a record number of enquiries in 2018 (29,023), up 22% on 2017. Of these, 4,246 went on to be formal complaints, which also rose significantly year on year by 16%.

The Ombudsman supported 2782 complaints, of which 2381 required a financial award to be paid. For the first time, compensatory awards paid by agents to consumers reached in excess of £2million (£2.17m), a total which has more than doubled since 2016.

Other details in the report provide a breakdown of complaints received relating to sales, lettings, residential leasehold management and other jurisdictions, average award amounts, the most common causes of complaints and eight example case summaries of complaints received last year, along with the outcome.

Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle and the newly formed Unitary Board provide a snapshot of the year, describing changes to the scheme as providing a “better, faster service to consumers”. The report also details feedback from TPO’s consumer and agent survey, lists key regional events attended by TPO, as well as reporting on the minority of cases (0.1%) where agents have been referred to TPO’s Compliance Committee for possible expulsion from the scheme.

Lettings statistical highlights:

2,757 complaints were resolved
66% of complaints were supported by the Ombudsman
54% of complaints were made by landlords, while 42% were made by tenants
The average lettings award was £845
For the third year running, the regions with the highest volume of complaints were Greater London (20%), the South East (17%) and North West (11%)
The top causes of complaints were: (1) communication & record keeping, (2) management (3) tenancy agreements, inventories and deposits and (4) complaint handling
Sales statistical highlights:

1,465 complaints were resolved
58% of complaints were supported by the Ombudsman
60% of complaints were made by sellers, while 34% were made by buyers
The average sales award was £608
The regions with the highest volume of complaints were the South East (16%), Greater London (11%) and North West (9%)
The top causes of complaints were: (1) communication & record keeping, (2) marketing & advertising, (3) instructions/terms of business/commission/termination and (4) complaint handling

Katrine Sporle, Property Ombudsman, said:

“2018 was an extremely busy year for TPO with increasing demand for the service. This does not necessarily mean that agents’ standards are slipping, but rather that consumers are increasingly aware of their rights, particularly off the back of the Government’s consultation into strengthening redress in the housing market, and subsequent media publicity on the future of consumer protection and driving out poor practice in the industry. TPO now also has 41,421 offices and departments following our Codes of Practice, approved by Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), 8% more than in 2017, an ever-increasing figure as we look to further extend our role to cover gaps in redress.

I’m proud to say that my team not only coped with this increased workload but enabled the service to go from strength to strength. Our Customer Services team responded to a record number of people – nearly 30,000, who contacted TPO via phone, email, post or online chat service, either by signposting them to the right organisation or giving immediate advice on how to raise a complaint. We also handled more complaints than ever before, identified complaint trends causing rising levels of consumer detriment and took action to combat these, and modernised our processes to provide a faster service to consumers.

Overall, 2018 represented a year of growth and improvement and as we look ahead to 2019, I’m confident that TPO will continue to raise standards, update our Sales and Lettings Codes of Practice to reflect new legislation and meet whatever challenges the industry faces.”

Case Summaries

TPO has over 28 years’ experience advising consumers who contact the scheme when they have exhausted an organisation’s internal complaint’s process but want an alternative to avoid the expense and time taken by going to court. The annual report provides some example case summaries which represent daily life, rather than the more extreme but unusual cases. Topics include a dual fee dispute, issues with surveying, auctions, referencing and more.

Katrine Sporle will draw on details from the annual report and what this means for the industry at The Property Ombudsman Conference on 10th July. Tickets are available at:
The full annual report is available in an e-book [here], or PDF [here] and all case summaries are available on the TPO website.

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;"> Agents Giving Day – Support Your Local Foodbank </span>

Would you like to support Agents Giving Day on 20th June by getting involved with your local foodbank?

Agents Giving is encouraging agents to help tackle hunger in their local communities by collecting items that foodbanks urgently require and donate to their local foodbank. It is these essential food items and toiletries, baby items and hygiene products which make up the parcels and make the all-important delivery to the foodbanks to give them the supplies they so desperately need.

Last year RAN organized their #OneThousandItemsofFood collection via their member offices throughout the UK, they collected over 6,000 items alone! This year they are setting their target at 10,000 items.

Paramount showed their continued support to their local foodbank effort by collecting over 400 items to donate to the Brent foodbank. Others included Heritage Estate Agents, Frank Shippers, Sealy Estates, MS Estates, Polecat Properties, Virtually Sold and Howie Kent & Co.



We want even more agents to sign up and get involved this Agents Giving Day, let’s see how many food items and foodbank supplies we can collect this year.

Michael Stoop, Chair of TPO's Industry Forum and Chairman of Agents Giving comments; “We were thrilled with the number of agents collecting and donating food parcels for Agents Giving Day 2018, literally thousands of food items were collected and donated. Thank you to all agents for their generosity, such an incredible job from all those involved.  This year we want to double the items donated and provide local foodbanks with the support they need to operate, you may even consider volunteering for a couple of hours to help prepare the food parcels, or maybe just make a cup of tea to someone in need of support”.

If you would like to collect and donate food items to your local foodbank just click on the link below to find your nearest foodbank.

Find your local foodbank HERE



<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">TPO running mediation pilot with Mediator Network</span>

Mediator Network has been working alongside The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for the last 6 months, delivering mediation services for TPO’s members as part of a pilot service.

Their property mediation specialists have been trained by TPO in property-specific matters such as dual fee disputes, which can be contentious and costly.

Mediator Network will be contacting our members over the next few weeks to introduce themselves to you, to see if they can help with any matters before they reach TPO.

You can find more information on Mediator Network and how they can help your organisation at

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">RICS </span><span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">Residential Property Conference<br /></span>

04 July 2019 | 08:30 - 17:30
Hilton London Tower Bridge, London, SE1 2BY
Join leading experts in the debate on how technology, innovation and new regulatory changes are moulding the future of the residential sector. 

Confirmed speakers include:

• Paul Cutbill, Head of Professional Development, Countrywide
• Lucian Cook, Director of Residential Research, Savills
• Lord Richard Best, Chair of the MHCLG’s Regulation of Property Agents Working Group
• Kate Faulkner, Director, Designs on Property
• Julia Ashley, Chief Executive, Central and Cecil Housing Trust
• Samantha Rowland, Head of Healthcare Valuations, Savills

The conference programme addresses key topics across survey and valuation, property management, technology within the sector and takes a look at housing projects in action.

Attend this conference to hear from agents, surveyors, valuers, block and property managers to ensure you are up to speed when it comes to tackling the biggest issues facing the residential property sector.

Receive RICS member rate by using the code VHR0000935 during checkout. Book your place online today: