This edition is a great opportunity for us to celebrate some exciting news for our members with TSI approving a second Code of Practice, which enables every TPO letting agent to use their new TSI 'approved trader' status to assure consumers that they operate the highest service standards. We've also got some fantastic news for all TPO members following the launch of a new tool on Zoopla. This edition also includes an important announcement from the Home Office and some best practice on final viewpoint letters.
Gerry Fitzjohn, Vice Chairman of The Property Ombudsman Limited.
New TSI approval for TPO’s Lettings Code
I’m delighted to announce that TPO’s Lettings Code of Practice has received approval by the Consumer Codes Approval Board, which is operated by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI).
TSI took over the running of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) from the Office of Fair Trading last year and subsequently approved TPO’s Sales Code Practice.
Across the UK, tenants and landlords can now look out for the TSI-approved code logo displayed by TPO’s 12,400 members to see if their agent is registered with the largest government-approved property ombudsman scheme in the UK.
What’s more, by following TPO’s Lettings Code of Practice, letting agents have automatically become TSI Approved Traders and will appear in their online consumer directory: http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/advice/ConsumerCodes.cfm
CCAS is distinct from other trader approved schemes in that individual traders cannot sign up to it – the only way a trader can display the TSI-approved code logo is through membership of an organisation whose Code of Practice has passed a stringent two-stage process to gain approval. The high standards of the approved Codes are maintained by a robust system of annual onsite audits by TSI-appointed trading standards professionals.
TPO’s Lettings Code of Practice has been updated to include the TSI logo (please see article image) and TSI window stickers are available to order.
To order the latest copy of TPO’s Lettings Code, please visit the Members’ Area of the TPO website and click on the ‘Printed Stationery and Window Stickers’ box at the bottom of the page.
TPO member benefits:
• Members of an approved Code can display the TSI approved code logo. This will help you promote your business as one that consumers can trust, giving you a commercial advantage over competitors.
• By adhering to an approved Code, your business can demonstrate a higher level of customer service and customer protection, such as a robust and legitimate customer complaints procedure and clear pre-contractual information. This will help you to attract and retain customers.
• Being a TSI Approved Trader and following a CCAS approved Code can help drive up customer standards within your sector and raise consumer trust.
• Members of an approved code will also have their business details shown on TSI's Consumer Code Online Directory and Citizens Advice Bureau’s website.
• Use of the TSI logo is subject to specific conditions so please make sure you adhere to the following:
- The TSI Approved Code Brand Guide
- The TSI Licence Agreement
- TSI guidance: Adding the TSI CCAS Logo to your website
(All of the above are available to view by clicking the ‘Trading Standards Institute’ box on the Members’ Area of the TPO website: http://www.tpos.co.uk/members_index.htm)
• To obtain a copy of the TSI logo please email firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure your email includes your TPO membership number (or trading name) and address (including their postcode).
• To review the latest agent and consumer-facing literature available to members, please visit the Members’ Area of the TPO website and click on the ‘Printed Stationery and Window Stickers’ box.
Please make sure you’re following us on @TPOmb so see the latest news.
Vice Chairman, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) Limited
N.B. Please be aware that with effect from 1st April 2013, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) stopped operating the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) – agents can no longer use the OFT logo in any of their marketing and it could be considered a criminal offence to do so.