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TPO Member News (Edition 2)

This edition highlights some important compliance matters to take note of and includes a special invite for TPO members to join the Ombudsman at a series of industry events taking place across the UK. Please also make sure you update your records with TPO's new dedicated telephone number for all Membership enquiries - the number was launched today and is 01722 335458.
Gerry Fitzjohn, Vice Chairman, TPO Board.

TPO’s work with Referenceline

Referenceline carries out independent customer satisfaction surveys on behalf of TPO to meet the compliance standards requested by the Trading Standard Institute, which approved TPO’s Sales Code last August after it took over from the OFT to run the Consumer Code Approval Scheme (CCAS).

TPO’s Code of Practice states that this monitoring is mandatory for all sales and letting agents to enable:

• TPO to maintain TSI’s approval of TPO’s Sales Code (which sales agents can promote to consumers in their branches and collateral as a distinct point of difference)
• To support TPO’s application to gain TSI approval for the Lettings Code of Practice

How is the research carried out?
Referenceline conducts regular customer satisfaction surveys on a random sample of TPO member agents every month.

If you are selected, you will receive an initial email from TPO after the random selection has been made. The surveys can be completed online or in writing and full instructions are provided on how to take part.

The satisfaction scores are broken down by how professional, knowledgeable, friendly and helpful the consumer feels the agent is.

What are the benefits for agents that take part?
• All reviews are posted including complaints as well as praise and can be viewed on both,/tpos and the TPO website under the ‘Find a member page’ where visitors can look up an agent by entering the name or branch address
• 90% of the feedback received is positive, recommending the firm concerned
• The ratings and reviews can be printed and used in your marketing appraisals
• The results provide agents with an unrivalled and powerful marketing tool

Your participation enables TPO to carry out the customer satisfaction research needed to retain TSI Sales Code approval and it is also a requirement to achieve full TSI approval for the Lettings Code

We are encouraging TPO members to subscribe to Referenceline's ongoing service which enables them to invite all of their customers to give their feedback. To find out more, please email

Bite-size best practice: Fixed contracts & notice periods

This ‘bite-size’ best practice feature has been written in response to some enquiries we’ve received from member agents who wanted to know what TPO’s view was with regards to letting agents extending a fixed contract with an extended notice period.

For example, if a tenant has a 12 month contract, can a letting agent impose a 3-month notice period that can-not be served until the 12-months have passed, which effectively makes this a 15-month agreement.

The OFT stance requires that an individual can give notice before expiry of the contract so that it expires at the end of the term. What the OFT considers ‘illegal’ is an agent saying the term of contact is 16, 18 or 20 weeks for example and adding the 14 day notice period on (such that it is effectively an 18, 20 or 22 week contract).

If a contract has expired then best practice would be that the agent advises the seller of the expiration – but no notice period would be required.

Any agency agreement should state precisely the terms of the arrangement, e.g. the length of contract, notice period, procedure for giving notice etc.

Further information can be found in TPO’s Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents (Section3), which is available to download via: Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents.pdf

Please let us know if you find this information useful and we will endeavour to provide further best practice features over the coming editions.

New telephone number launched for TPO members

TPO members now have a new direct telephone number to reach the Membership team on. 

The dedicated telephone number, which is 01722 335458, went live today (31st March) and enables TPO members to select:

Option 1: Membership (general enquiries)
Option 2: Accounts 
Option 3: Membership compliance and surveys

We hope this new number will enable agents to reach the right team quickly.

Please note: The membership team can be reached by email via Any calls concerning a complaint must be directed through the main switchboard number (which will continue to be 01722 333306) to ensure one of TPO’s advisors in the Complaints Operations team can assist.

Special invite for TPO members

A new UK-wide calendar of events was launched earlier this month by NAEA & ARLA, which invites TPO members to attend a special Omudsman presentation and TPO workshop to help agents resolve disputes.

The first two events took place in Bristol and Oxford, with eight more events scheduled to take place over the rest of the year.

Tickets are normally limited to ARLA & NAEA members but agents registered with TPO are welcome to attend the following forthcoming events:

1 Apr: NAEA ARLA North Wales - Tuesday - Tre-Ysgawen Country House, Anglesey
1 May: NAEA ARLA York - Thursday - Royal York Hotel
13 May: NAEA ARLA Plymouth - Tuesday - Boringdon Hall
4 Jun: NAEA ARLA Southampton - Wednesday - Marriott Meon Valley
10 Sep: NAEA ARLA Lincoln - Wednesday - Forest Pines
8 Oct: NAEA ARLA Newmarket - Wednesday - Newmarket Racecourse
6 Nov: NAEA ARLA Shrewsbury - Thursday - Mecure Albrighton Hall
19 Nov: NAEA ARLA Blackpool - Wednesday - De Vere Village, Herons Reach

Christopher Hamer, the Ombudsman, said: “These events are a great opportunity to meet agents and share advice. The feedback so far has been extremely positive and demonstrates the additional value of TPO membership as it gives agents who are not registered with a trade body a forum to network, learn new things and participate in the workshops we’re hosting.

"My ultimate aim with these presentations is to ensure agents understand my role as Ombudsman, to share the latest industry best practice and to assist agents in avoiding complaints arising in the first place. If complaints do arise, agents can apply the principles taught in the workshops to hopefully avoid TPO’s involvement.”  

Places are subject to availability with agents being able to choose whether they wish to attend the whole day or the TPO session, and are subject to a registration fee.

To register your interest, please Stephanie Spencer, PA to the Ombudsman, by emailing or call 01722 430027.

Please note that spaces are limited and will be on a first come, first served basis.

Find out more: Please visit to view the agenda for each event and to find out more.