TPO has announced that referrals are up 42% on last year, potentially a very worrying statistic for the industry, but it could just be a sign that Estate Agency is cleaning up its act.
Following legislation it has been a legal requirement for all estate agents to have a redress scheme available for dissatisfied customers for the last six months. So whereas before the complaints may have just been between friends, spread around the media and social networks or made to the OFT now customers feel empowered to make complaints and expect their voices will be heard.
It has always been the case that there are some rogue agents who do not value their customers who make it very difficult for reputable agents to prove they are professional and above sharp practices.
As more customers realise that the industry is willing to act on any bad practice then they will expect higher standards, and hopefully root out any agents who are not committed to high standards of customer care, and best legal practice in their agencies.
This can only be good news for those of us in the industry who want to provide a great service for a fair price, without being undercut by agents who cannot possibly deliver on the promises they make when they undercut the market prices.
Riley Marshall signed up to The Property Ombudsman long before it became a legal requirement, because it was the right thing to do, to show our customers that we take or responsibilities seriously and to have an independent body in place to handle any disputes. Ironically we haven’t needed to use the service, but just being a member and complying with their guidelines has probably ensured we haven’t had a serious complaint.
The Property Ombudsman is now calling for legislation to cover the growing number of private landlords in the marketplace, many of whom do not realise their responsibilities to their tenants.
Commenting on his Report, Mr Hamer said:
2014 saw continued and significant growth in the Private Rented Sector. With an estimated 1.6 million private landlords, many of whom have limited experience and understanding of their responsibilities, and large numbers of consumers seeking tenancies, the role of letting and managing agents in providing quality customer service based on a comprehensive knowledge of relevant legislation, is more important now than ever before