What Is A Property Redress Scheme? Redress Scheme Complaints

What Is A Property Redress Scheme? Redress Scheme Complaints

What Is A Property Redress Scheme?

A property redress scheme is an independent organization that consumers can complain to if they have an unresolved dispute with a property agent or professional who is a member of that scheme. The main property redress schemes in the UK are The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and Property Redress Scheme (PRS).

By law, all estate agents, letting agents and property managers must belong to one of these approved schemes.

The purpose of a redress scheme is to provide an impartial service to resolve complaints and settle disputes.

For example, if a tenant is unhappy with how a letting agent has dealt with a deposit return, they can escalate the complaint to the agent’s redress scheme. The scheme will investigate and make a decision that is binding on the agent if the complaint is upheld.

To join a redress scheme, agents must apply and pay an annual subscription fee. Consumers do not pay to escalate complaints. Decisions made by redress schemes aim to put things right for the consumer, which can include awards of compensation.

Being a member of a redress scheme demonstrates an agent’s commitment to high customer service standards. It gives consumers an option to take unresolved complaints further and acts as an incentive for agents to resolve issues promptly.

Purpose Of A Redress Scheme

A Property Redress Scheme (PRS) is a system that allows consumers, customers, or clients to escalate a complaint they have against a member of a particular scheme.

All property professionals, estate agents, and property agents that carry out lettings, estate management, and property management have a legal responsibility to join an authorized Property Redress Scheme and make the details available to their customers, which includes both landlords and tenants.

The main purpose of a Redress Scheme is to resolve or settle unresolved complaints from consumers who have suffered a loss as a result of the actions of the member. The council can fine agents up to £5000 if they do not join a redress scheme. Private landlords can join a Property Redress Scheme, but there is no legal requirement to do so

A Property Redress Scheme will handle complaints such as disputes over the state of how the property was returned, disagreements over proposed costs for damage, cleaning, or any other costs relating to the property, and issues related to late deposit protection.

The most common reasons for tenancy disputes include cleaning, damage, redecoration, gardening, and rent arrears.

If a complaint is not responded to after 8 weeks, you can proceed to complain to the Property Redress Scheme, or you can complain to the Redress Scheme if you’re unhappy with the final response from the agent and you feel the issue is unresolved. Note that you must complain within the time limit set by the Scheme.

In the event that you are unable to reach an amicable resolution, you have the option of using the free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services through MyDeposits for an independent and impartial decision. Alternatively, Property Redress Scheme offers free mediation to members.

A Property Redress Scheme membership adds value to a property professionals’ business and gives their customers peace of mind that any complaint can be resolved by an independent third-party with experience in dealing with consumer complaints.

Redress Scheme Complaints

Here are some key points about property redress scheme complaints:

  • Consumers can make complaints to a redress scheme about issues with agents who are members of that scheme. Common complaints relate to things like fees, repairs, poor service etc.
  • To complain, the consumer would need to have first made a complaint directly to the agent and given them reasonable opportunity to resolve it. If still unhappy, they can escalate to the redress scheme.
  • Complaints can be made to the two main schemes – The Property Ombudsman (TPO) or Property Redress Scheme (PRS). The process involves completing a complaint form online explaining the issues.
  • The schemes will investigate complaints by obtaining evidence from both parties. A case handler is assigned who will make a decision based on what seems fair and reasonable.
  • Decisions are binding on the agent if a complaint is upheld. The scheme can award compensation or other remedies to put things right for the consumer.
  • Complaint data is published by the schemes. In 2021/22, TPO received 17,138 complaints and PRS received 3,005. The number upheld was 5,422 for TPO and 1,052 for PRS.
  • Reasons for complaints include issues with deposits, repairs, fees, communication, terminations, standards of service etc. Most complaints tend to be against letting agents rather than estate agents.
  • Agents cannot evade redress by leaving a scheme once a complaint is escalated. The scheme will still investigate and make a binding decision.

 

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