Property agents are required by law to join a government authorised consumer redress scheme. This essentially gives customers of the property agent a means of complaining or reporting if they are unhappy about an incident or a complaint has been dealt with by the agent.
There are currently 3 government-approved redress schemes, The Property Ombudsman Limited, Ombudsman Services, and the Property Redress Scheme.
The Property Redress Scheme (PRS) released their annual report last Friday (13th April) for the year 2017. Among detailing the most common types of complaints, such as fees and charges, poor service, rent collection and more, the report has seen a significant, 61%, increase in complaints.
The Head of Redress, Sean Hooker said: “We have worked hard to get our 2017 Annual Report out early and I believe it contains some very interesting information. Our membership continues to grow at an astonishing rate but it is the increase in complaint numbers which shows the value we are providing to the property industry”.
Property Redress Scheme Sees 61% Rise in Annual Complaint Notifications
What does this mean for the PRS?
Whilst it may seem like a large amount of complaints reported, it is worth putting the numbers into perspective. In 2017, there were 6,787 agent offices signed up with the PRS, and the percentages of complaints are as follows.
As detailed in the PRS’s Annual Report, “During the reporting period, the majority of disputes (15%) included issues concerning the service received from the property professional and the way in which an initial complaint was handled. The next most common complaint reasons were for a member breaching their duty of care (12%), fees and charges that were applied (12%), the management of the tenancy or relationship (12%) and holding deposits (11%).”
What were some of the main complaints found by the report?
The top eight complaint issues by topic:
|Poor Service / Complaint Handling
|Fees and Charges
|Duty of Care
|Security / Tenancy Deposit
What is the Property Redress Scheme complaints process?
The process takes a nine-step approach; from the initial reporting to the resolution of the complaint. Briefly, the complainant will first report their issue, then the complaint is assigned to a Case Assessor, who will subsequently allow both parties an allocated time to resolve the complaint. Step 4 is the member response, which leads into an early resolution process, the proposed decision, party response and the penultimate step, which is the decision itself. The final step is compliance – the member will have 28 days to comply with the final decision, from when it was made.
You can read the Property Redress Scheme’s Annual Report in full, here.