Estate agents told to ‘raise standards’ after new TPO report
With an ever-increasing number of registered offices, complaints have skyrocketed against devious estate agents who are failing to follow The Property Ombudsman’s code of conduct – and there’s now immense pressure for change.
At the beginning of 2016, Ipsos MORI released its survey of the most trusted professions in the UK – a survey that has been carried out annually since 1993 – and it was perhaps less than surprising to see politicians, government officials and estate agents holding the bottom three positions.
The reputation of estate agencies has often been brought into disrepute thanks to reports of unscrupulous businessmen looking to make a quick buck off unsuspecting clients. To ensure that those breaking professional codes of conduct are held accountable, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has always been there to regulate the industry and ensure that the British public is aware of all relevant legal rights.
A damning report released this month by the TPO, however, shows that the number of complaints aimed at estate agents had risen dramatically in 2015 – a full 32% increase versus the previous year.
Responding to over 300 queries a week, TPO upheld more than three quarters of the complaints made by landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers against estate and lettings agents, a percentage that TPO considers an extremely worrying trend.
“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,” said Katrine Sporle (TPO).
“My message for those agents is simple: pay more attention to TPO’s codes of practice and raise your standards.”
With the majority of complaints filed by those in the South of England – and an 82% increase of agents registered in the UK in just five years – many property selling experts are beginning to question TPO’s ability to maintain control over the market.
Of course, vendors do not necessarily have to use an estate agent to sell their houses, as there are other options. Many opt to sell themselves via online property portals, while those who are looking to sell a home fast are able to take advantage of property buying companies, who buy any house for cash regardless of condition, without incurring the extra fees and underhanded sales tactics often used by estate agents.
Why not check out our National Homebuyers reviews.