The Property Ombudsman Scheme & Why We're Part of It

Written by Mathew McCorry

If you read my property blog now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will make you read it.

If you’ve navigated through The Property Buying Company website you’ll soon realise that we have logos of The Property Ombudsman dotted about, and mentions within some of the pages itself, but what exactly does it mean?

We’re part of The Property Ombudsman scheme as transparency is at the heart of everything that we do, keep reading to find out more.

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About The Property Ombudsman

The Property Ombudsman, often referred to as TPO is a scheme which aims to provide a dispute resolution service between consumers and property agents. There purpose is to achieve a settlement in any dispute by either party, and they can offer a compensatory award of up to £25,000 for any quantifiable loss, inconvenience, distress or aggravation which is caused by the property agent.

The organisation is not for profit and is government approved to provide independent redress. Complaints are considered on a case by case basis, and they can redress customers, but they don’t have the authority to take legal action or impose fines on the agent as they are not a regulator.

Why We’re A Part of The Property Ombudsman

It’s not a regulatory body, so why exactly are we part of it? Because we’re honest and transparent, we’ll tell you straight away whether we think our service will work for you, and when it won’t. We know that our service isn’t suited to everyone, and over promising at the initial stage just leads to unhappy customers and wasted time on our end.

We can honestly say that we do everything above board and always go the extra mile to ensure our customers are happy, and we always adhere to the principles of The Property Ombudsman scheme.

What Can the Property Ombudsman Do?

The main objective of The Property Ombudsman is to resolve disputes and avoid any potential legal costs or action. They always try and encourage that yourself as the customer and the agent settle the dispute between yourself, but should they be involved they will make a decision on whether they should award compensation on the matter.

If the TPO support your complaint then they can take actions to ensure that the member of the TPO puts things right, usually in terms of a formal apology and compensation up to £25,000.

They are unable to enforce members to pay the penalties, however if they have broken the codes of practice, then they can be reported to the Compliance Committee who decide on further action. This committee can take certain actions when there are serious breaches, such as expulsion from the Ombudsman scheme.

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Who Funds The Property Ombudsman?

As The Property Ombudsman Scheme is not for profit, you might be wondering how they are funded, and essentially able to keep operating. They are funded through companies like ourselves, who pay fees to be members, currently at £225+VAT per annum and any case fees. The model they have set up allows the TPO to offer a free service for customers, without it being at any cost to the UK tax payer.

How To Make A Complaint

The Property Ombudsman urge you to make the complaint to the agent themselves initially, allowing them fair time to come to a reasonable solution, before taking it any further. You should tell the agent that you are unhappy and setting out the act you believe has occurred, and let the agent know you would like them to resolve the complaint, making sure that you keep copies of all correspondence.

If your agent has received the complaint and eight weeks have passed with no resolution then you can refer the complaint to the Ombudsman, here are the steps:

  1. Complete & sign a TPO complaints form
  2. Send that documentation along with the supporting documentation of your conversations and dealing with the agent
  3. Include your agents final viewpoint letter

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