Lettings News

How many Agents will be Trading Illegally as Ombudsman Services Withdraws from Market?

Em Morley - August 7, 2018

Due to the withdrawal of the Ombudsman Services from the sector, the option for redress will no longer be available for consumers – a mandatory requirement for agents wishing to remain in business.

Agents, in addition to RICS members, had been informed that they must register with another authorised scheme, either The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.

A list of agents who might not have registered elsewhere is due to be delivered to the regulator, National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, (NTSEAT) by Ombudsman Services.

However, on August 5th, Ombudsman Services: Property continued listing what appeared to be a large number of agents.

This could potentially be due to some agents failing to move to a new redress scheme, or have, but the Ombudsman Services website had not been updated. However, this is not clear.

It was previously reported that 450 agents were still due to move.

According to the Ombudsman Services: Property, any company still signed up for it would be required to switch.

Ombudsman at the Ombudsman Services, Nicolette Granite commented: “Today marks the culmination of a six-month managed withdrawal process, an integral component which has been informing property and housing companies registered with OS of our decision to withdrawal from the sector.

“We have contacted participating companies on numerous occasions as part of a comprehensive communications and awareness campaign. We’re pleased to report that, as a result, many have taken the important step of signing up with a different scheme in what has been a smooth transition.

“It’s possible that a small number of companies may have missed the deadline. If your company falls into this category, our advice would be to register as soon as possible with either The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.”

She added: “During the past six months we have worked closely with stakeholders including the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team. This collaboration will continue after today.

“Consumers can be assured that, if their complaint falls within our terms of reference and was accepted by us on or before August 6th, it will be investigated through to resolution.”