Large increase in requests to The Property Ombudsman over last three years


The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has reported that consumer requests to it for assistance have increased by 48% since 2019.

TPO has published a number of helpful statistics relating to this. In 2021, TPO dealt with over 45,000 enquiries, but was successful in resolving most of these early in the process. Only a little over 5,500 went on to became formal complaints, which were then investigated by TPO.

There are marked differences in the number of referrals to TPO across different areas of work, with three areas in particular comprising the majority of the referrals. The most issues related to lettings with 2,656 referrals; next was sales at 1,807 referrals. Finally, 1,356 referrals related to residential leasehold management complaints. This left only 187 referrals across all the remaining areas of work.

The average fine issued by TPO was £400-£500 but the largest fine was reported as £18,000.

Rebecca Marsh, Property Ombudsman made some observations on the direction of travel and predicted that the upward rise would continue: “Over the last few years we have seen call lengths nearly double with issues becoming more complex…..Following the release of the ‘Fairer Private Rented Sector’ white paper, a collection of reforms built on the principles that everyone has a right to a decent home and that everyone should be treated fairly, and the current economic situation, I anticipate our enquiries will continue their upward trajectory.

James Burgoyne of Brunel Professions said: “It is more likely than not that estate agents and letting agents will encounter complaints from their clients, no matter how good their service standards.  The key is responding and resolving these quickly before they become formal complaints or even more serious negligence claims. The firm should be working with its insurance broker at this stage, as many complaints are notifiable to professional indemnity insurers, and late notification in this area is a persistent problem.”

TPO published a press release and its Annual Review on its website. is owned by Brunel Professions, which is a leading professional indemnity insurance broker in the UK.  Click here to get a quote or call 0345 450 1074 to speak to a broker.