The Property Ombudsman scheme has today released its most recent annual figures, which show a rise in the number of consumers contacting the scheme for assistance.
In her first yearly report following her appointment early in 2015, Katrine Sporle revealed some interesting data concerning the scheme.
In 2015, The Property Ombudsman received 16,265 enquiries from consumers looking for advice. In addition, it resolved 3,304 formal complaints, a substantial increase of 32% from the previous year. What’s more, the Ombudsman instructed agents to pay awards worth £811,134.
With regards to lettings, some key figures were revealed to be:
- 1,965 formal complaints were resolved, 33% more than in 2014
- 83% of complaints were supported
- 50% of complaints were made by landlords
- 47% of complaints were made by tenants
- The greatest award for a lettings dispute was £16,954
- The average lettings award was £522
- The highest volume of complaints were in the South East (24%), Greater London (24%) and the South West (9%).
The top three causes of lettings complaints were found to be:
- Management (including repairs, maintenance)
- Communication & record keeping
- End of tenancy issues (deposits, damages etc)
The Property Ombudsman reveals annual information
Katrine Sporle noted: ‘The number of agents joining The Property Ombudsman has grown by 82% in the last 5 years. 35,374 offices are now signed up and following our approved Codes of Practice. Importantly, these figures show that more and more consumers are able to access The Property Ombudsman to have their disputes resolved.’
‘Being the largest government-approved property redress scheme does mean that we receive a commensurately large number of enquiries every year. In the vast majority of cases, those enquiries are dealt with satisfactorily through TPO intervention to facilitate early resolution between agents and consumers.’
Concluding, Sporle said: ‘Last year, out of 16,265 enquiries, 3,304 complex complaints required formal review and, a high percentage of those complaints were supported (83%). Overall, this is good news for consumers and redress, but not so great for the reputation of agents who collectively paid out over £800,000 in awards.’
‘My message for those agents is simple; pay more attention to TPO’s Codes of Practice and raise your standards.’