Complaints in UK lettings and sales industry hit record high
The UK's property letting and sales industries dealt with a record number of complaints in 2016. That's according to the latest figures released by the Property Ombudsman, which reports that it resolved a record number of complex complaints, resulting in the award of £1.2 million over the year.
The cost of the awards was up 51 per cent compared to the year before and it was the first time this figure exceeded the £1 million mark.
Complex complaints weren't the only ones on the rise, however. In its annual report, the Ombudsman also revealed that difficult complaints increased by 7.5 per cent to 3,553. Overall, there were 14,218 enquiries from consumers in need of advice.
In addition, the number of sales and letting agents joining the redress scheme rose by 6.1 per cent and seven per cent, respectively.
Within the lettings market, 1,997 formal complaints were resolved. This was an increase of 1.6 per cent. More than half (51 per cent) were made by tenants and 45 per cent by landlords. The average award was £531 and the highest was £21,972.
Looking at the different regions, the place with the highest volume of complaints was Greater London (25 per cent). Other areas with a high volume were the south-east (23 per cent) and the north-west (ten per cent).
The leading causes of complaints were management, communication, record keeping and referencing.
As for the sales market, 1,310 formal complaints were resolved. This was up 7.4 per cent from the previous year. Communication and record keeping were the leading causes of complaints for this segment, followed by marketing and advertising.
Commenting on the annual report, property ombudsman Katrine Sporle explained that the organisation's code of practice had been revised to clarify many of the issues consumers found confusing or misleading, including full disclosure of fees and charges, pre-contract deposits and referencing
"We will continue to set things right by promoting best practice through our regular case studies, regional workshops, industry seminars and national conferences," she added.
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