National Trading Standards has issued guidance to estate agents and property management firms, urging them to check that they are signed up with an approved redress scheme. The move follows a lettings agent being fined £3,000 for failing to belong to an approved redress scheme.
Samson Estates was fined by the Upper Tribunal for not being a member of a redress scheme for its residential leasehold management activities. It was only covered by the Property Ombudsman Scheme for its residential sales and lettings, and commercial sales and lettings work.
James Munro, Head of National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, said: “The recent tribunal decision shows businesses that are signed up to redress schemes for one area of their work but not for others may face hefty penalties in the courts.”
Agents are legally obliged to be a member of a redress scheme. There are two approved schemes run by The Property Ombudsman and the Property Redress Scheme. Both offer advice and guidance to agents about membership of their redress schemes and the categories of work covered.
“Joining a redress scheme is only half the story,” warnsJames Burgoyne of Brunel Professions. “Agents must also make sure they have effective procedures to deal with complaints quickly. Unresolved complaints can quickly escalate to become far more serious allegations of professional negligence.”
National Trading Standards has published its guidance on its website and reports of the case have been published by ARLA and the Residential Landlords Association. The Upper Tribunal’s full decision has been published here.
Categorised in: Property PI News
This post was written by James Burgoyne