November 19, 2009
All estate agents in the UK engaged in residential estate agency work have to belong to an approved redress scheme dealing with complaints about the buying and selling of residential property, including HIPs.
Approved Redress Schemes
Any businesses carrying out estate agency work under the Estate Agents Act 1979 (EAA 79) must belong to an approved redress scheme (even if they don’t call themselves an estate agent).
Estate agents that don’t join an approved scheme will be subject to a £1,000 penalty charge, which can be repeated if necessary, and will ultimately be banned from carrying out estate agency work if they refuse to join a scheme.
Find Your Estate Agent’s Redress Scheme
There are two estate agents redress schemes. Ask your estate agent which scheme the firm belongs to.
Members of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme must display the TPO logo and have copies of the TPO consumer guide available.
Members of the Surveyors Ombudsman Service (SOS) should provide you with a copy of their complaints handling procedure, which will outline if the firm is a member of the SOS.
The Property Ombudsman
You can complain to The Property Ombudsman if you are unhappy with the services provided by an estate agent who is a member of the TPO scheme.
Before you complain to the Ombudsman, you must have complained to the firm and given them a fair chance to sort out the problem.
For more information, including how to find out whether your agent is a member and what complaints the Ombudsman can investigate, read the consumer guide on the TPO website.
How to complain
You can get advice and find out how to make a complaint from The Property Ombudsman website. Member firms are required to comply with the decisions of the Ombudsman. Failure to do so can result in the firm being dismissed from membership.
Surveyors Ombudsman Service
You can complain to the Surveyors Ombudsman Service if you are unhappy with the services provided by a surveyor (or non-surveyor estate agent) who is a member of the SOS scheme.Before you complain to the Ombudsman you must have complained to the firm and given them a fair chance to sort out the problem.
How to complain
You can get advice and find out how to make a complaint from the Surveyors Ombudsman Service website.