Posts with tag: tenant complaints

New Property Ombudsman Announced

Published On: September 21, 2015 at 2:53 pm


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,,

The new Property Ombudsman has been revealed as Katrine Sporle.

Sporle, 61, will take over from Christopher Hamer when his nine-year term ends on 30th November.

Sporle has an impressive career to date and is being welcomed into the role.

She was the chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales between 2003-11, responsible for 1,000 members of staff and a £60m budget. She also reported directly to Parliament.

Previously, Sporle was the chief executive of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for eight years, controlling a budget of £58m.

Sporle is currently the executive director and chapter clerk at Salisbury Cathedral, the most senior lay leader at the 750-year-old church.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) offices are located in the same city in Wiltshire.

Sporle, of Hampshire, was awarded a CBE in December 2010 for outstanding public service.

Chairman of TPO Council since 2009, Lord Richard Best OBE, says: “Selecting our ombudsman is a key responsibility of the independent TPO Council and we are truly delighted to have secured someone with the breadth and depth of experience – at local and national levels – which Katrine brings to this role.

“Christopher Hamer is a very hard act to follow but I am confident we have found a great successor.

“I know all TPO’s members and well-wishers will join me in extending the warmest of welcomes to Katrine when she starts in November.”1 

Board Chairman of TPO Scheme, Bill McClintock, adds: “I welcome Katrine Sporle as the new ombudsman and endorse Lord Best’s comments.

“I believe her broad employment background will be a huge benefit in performing her new role.”1

Hamer’s next move is unknown, but it is believed he could become involved in Government departments due to his valuable skills.


Ombudsman Services Rejects 80% of Initial Complaints

Ombudsman Services has revealed that 81% of initial complaints against estate and letting agents are rejected.

Ombudsman Services Rejects 80% of Initial Complaints

Ombudsman Services Rejects 80% of Initial Complaints

Of the 5,265 initial inquiries last year, just 19% were investigated. The firm says that the complaints not upheld were outside the terms of reference.

Just over half of complaints were about member companies, but were outside the Ombudsman Services’ responsibility, including inquiries that were early, too old or lacked information. Almost half were about non-member agents. Some inquiries (2%) were requests for information and literature.

This leaves just 19% of inquiries that went to adjudication, resulting in 1,001 property complaints being upheld, an 8% increase. Only 934 complaints were resolved in 2014-15.

In 35% of these cases, there was no action. Awards and remedies resolved the remainder, with the most common financial award at £100.

Of the seemingly large amount of initial complaints, very few are taken forward and in only a fraction of these the Ombudsman Services was against the agent. When consumers complain against agents, very few succeed.

According to Ombudsman Services, the top three complaints are for valuations and surveys (42%), property management (25%) and residential managing agents (9%).

Ombudsman Services are not alone, however, in not progressing with a large proportion of initial complaints. In its latest report, The Property Ombudsman resolved 2,511 cases in 2014, after receiving an initial 16,792 inquiries. For this firm, a greater amount (85%) are rejected.

The Property Ombudsman says that this could be because the consumer has gone straight to them and has not tried to sort the complaint out with the agent personally.

Furthermore, an ombudsman cannot deal with a case that has become the subject of litigation.








Top Complaints from Tenants is a Faulty Boiler

Published On: December 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,

Almost a third of tenants experience a lack of hot water and/or heating at some point during their tenancy.

Online letting agent PropertyLetByUs conducted the study, and also revealed that the second highest complaint in rental properties is a leaking roof, with 22% of respondents suffering from this issue.1

14% of complaints are for mould and condensation, and faulty showers. Problematic window locks accounted for 10%, and 8% were for broken windows.1

Top Complaints from Tenants is a Faulty Boiler

Top Complaints from Tenants is a Faulty Boiler

6% of all complaints are for faulty smoke alarms, as well as pests and vermin. Noisy neighbours caused 4%, and problems with fire escapes 2%.1

The survey also found that some tenants (20%) are left waiting up to two months to have issues fixed, while 12% of tenants have witnessed their landlord never fixing the problem. Only a third of tenants said that their landlord fixes problems quickly, within a couple of days.1

PropertyLetByUs’ Managing Director, Jane Morris, says: “Landlords have a duty of care for their tenants and leaving problems, such as faulty boilers, can be very dangerous and put lives at risk. Some tenants are having to wait long periods of time to get problems fixed, which is unacceptable. It is worrying that only a third of landlords deal with tenant problems quickly.”1

The company referred to a case recently, where two landlords in Kent were fined £20,000 for leaving a property so severely damaged by damp that it posed a risk to tenants’ health. The landlords had left tenants living in damp conditions and without heating for over two years. The flat was also lacking a fire safety alarm.1

Morris continues: “Whilst this may be an extreme case, the message is clear. Landlords and agents should deal with maintenance issues as quickly as possible. If they delay, issues can deteriorate, resulting in a higher cost to the landlord or tenant. It is also important that landlords or their agent make regular maintenance checks, ideally every three months, so they can identify potential and existing issues and sort them quickly.”1

The firm also reinforced that landlords and agents must provide tenants with advice on the steps they should be taking whilst awaiting contractors, such as turning off gas taps, to ensure that any issue does not cause danger to life and property.

Gas or major electrical faults are classed as urgent and should be fixed within 24 hours at least. This also applies to heating and hot water, particularly in cold months.

Water leaks should be attended to within 24 hours, cookers within 48 hours, and other broken appliances within 72 hours, such as washing machines.

The landlord or letting agent should always keep tenants informed on the course of action when sorting an issue.