TPO reports 16% rise in complaints in 2018

Complaints to the Property Ombudsman rose 16 per cent in 2018, it reports.

It adds that it saw a 22 per cent rise in overall enquires received last year, with the figure reaching 29,023.

In addition, of the 4,246 formal complaints it received last year, TPO supported 2,782, of which 2,381 required a financial award.

Compensatory awards in 2018 reached £2.1m – less than half of that in 2016.

Further data shows that the body dealt with 2,450 complaints relating to lettings and 1,304 relating to sales – with the average repayment at £845 and £604, respectively.

Of all the complaints made for lettings, 55 per cent were made by landlords and 42 per cent by tenants, of which the body supported 66 per cent.

Meanwhile, of all the complaints made for sales, 60 per cent were by sellers and 34 per cent by buyers, of which TPO supported 58 per cent.

The top cause for complaints for both categories was ‘communication and record keeping’.

Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle comments: “Last year was extremely busy 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.

“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.”

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