Landlords may have heard about the imminent phasing out of ‘Ombudsman Services’, which after August 6th 2018 will no longer provide dispute resolution services to companies working in the property industry. After August 6th lettings and sales agents will have to belong to one of the two remaining redress schemes – The Property Ombudsman (www.tpos.co.uk) or the Property Redress Scheme (www.theprs.co.uk).
Benham and Reeves Estate Agents is a member of The Property Ombudsman, a government approved scheme, so our clients need not worry about the impact of this move. They can have complete confidence that they have full access to an independent adjudicator in the unlikely event that they are unhappy with our service.
But other lettings agents which currently belong to Ombudsman Services, will have to switch to one of the two remaining redress schemes. If lettings companies do not switch into one of the two remaining schemes their clients will not be able to access free dispute resolution services and the company will therefore be trading illegally.
This news highlights the importance of having access to an effective redress scheme which ensures full consumer protection for tenants and landlords (as well as home buyers and sellers), which is vital to help raise standards throughout the property industry. If either a tenant or landlord feels that they have received poor service, that their legal rights have been infringed, that the Code of Practice has not been adhered to, or that they have been unfairly treated by a member of the TPO in any way, they can receive free, impartial and independent dispute resolution support in order to resolve their dispute.
We would suggest landlords and tenants ask their agent which redress scheme the company belongs to and, for their own peace of mind, check on the relevant website that the company is in fact a member.
Of course, it is always preferable to resolve disputes in a conciliatory and co-operative manner if possible, without outside intervention. This is what we aim to do and we have had very few cases when this has not been possible.
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