What can the Property Ombudsman do? (Legal Q&A) - PropertyBlawg

What can the Property Ombudsman do? (Legal Q&A)

by ContactLaw on January 31, 2012

The Property Ombudsman launched in 2009 to replace the Ombudsman for Estate Agents, with wider powers over property relating matters concerning not only residential but also commercial property, lettings and overseas sales. The main purpose of the Property Ombudsman is to provide a free, fair and independent service for consumers who wish to resolve a complaint relating to the sale or letting of a property.

If you have a grievance against a residential or commercial property company that has caused you to lose money, suffer avoidable aggravation, distress or inconvenience then you may be able to bring your complaint to the Property Ombudsman. You can only do so once you have exhausted channels of complaint against the agent themselves, something which much be started within 12 months of the incident taking place.

You should consult a property solicitor for legal advice beforehand to ensure that your complaint is made appropriately. Complaints which the Property Ombudsman will consider include where you feel your legal rights have been infringed or you have been treated unfairly, where your agent has breached a code of conduct or been guilty of maladministration, which can include inefficiency and undue delay.

The powers of the Property Ombudsman are varied. The main aim is to resolve your dispute in full and final settlement, avoiding the need to take your complaint to court and the costs associated with that. In some cases, it may be appropriate to engage both sides in mediation, but in most cases the Property Ombudsman will examine both sides of the dispute before reaching a final decision in writing.

The Property Ombudsman may decide that your dispute warrants a payment of compensation and can make such an award if it feels it is appropriate. The nature of the financial award is to compensate for the disadvantage suffered, not to punish the agent for their conduct. Your property solicitor can keep track of the case and liaise with the Property Ombudsman on your behalf to ensure that you achieve the right outcome to your complaint.

Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: