Nearly £1.4m was handed out to settle sales and lettings disputes in 2017.

Consumers were paid nearly £1.4m in compensation for property-related disputes last year - an 11% hike on 2016.

A total of 3,658 complaints were lodged in 2017 with the Property Ombudsman, one of several dispute resolution bodies in the housing sector. That’s 3% more than the previous year.

Some 2,212 lettings complaints were settled, at an average cost of £625.

Meanwhile, 1,098 property sales issues were resolved, with compensation typically standing at £532.

Why is this happening?

The main reason people complained about a letting was due to poor management of the property, followed by issues with record keeping and tenancy agreements.

Other areas of contention related to inventories and deposits, as well as in-house complaints handling.

The biggest cause for sales complaints was poor communication and record keeping, followed by issues with marketing and advertising.

Other disputes related to instructions, terms of business, commission and termination.

Above: two-bedroom flat for rent in Bedford.

Who does it affect?

Nearly half (49%) of all complaints in the lettings sector were made by landlords, while 45% were lodged by tenants. 

And disputes relating to sales were more likely to be made by those who had put their property on the market, although in 34% of cases it was buyers who were aggrieved.

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What’s the background?

The Government is introducing a range of reforms to help protect people in the rental sector.

From April next year, letting agents must hold money from tenants or landlords, such as rental payments or cash for repairs, in a Client Money Protection scheme.

It is also in the process of bringing in laws to ban letting agent fees being charged at the start of a tenancy and capping security deposits to the equivalent of five weeks’ rent.

The Government is also introducing new standards for estate agents to drive up standards in the industry.

Estate agents will be required to hold a professional qualification and be transparent about any fees they receive from referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers under the new rules.

Top 4 takeaways

  • Consumers were paid nearly £1.4m in compensation for property-related disputes last year - an 11% hike on 2016.
  • A total of 3,658 complaints were lodged in 2017 with the Property Ombudsman. That’s 3% more than the previous year.
  • Some 2,212 lettings complaints were settled, at an average cost of £625.
  • Meanwhile, 1,098 property sales issues were resolved, with compensation typically standing at £532.

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