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September 2009

Lettings complaints dominate

FRUSTRATION with lettings agents is still the biggest cause of people contacting The Property Ombudsman and asking for help.

Ombudsman Christopher Hamer reveals in his latest report, covering the second quarter of 2009, that more than 110 people a week asked for assistance with problems over property lettings during the period.

Since the end of June last year, enquiries regarding lettings have gone up by 44 per cent while those regarding sales have fallen by 30 per cent, although they are showing a slight upward trend once more.

“This is precisely what I forecast as the property market switched emphasis from sales to lettings during the current slowdown,” said Mr Hamer.

“Enquiries over lettings disputes now far outstrip those for sales and this is one of the principal reasons for asking the Office of Fair Trading to ratify The Property Ombudsman Lettings Code of Practice under its Consumer Codes Approval Scheme.

“We see this as the first step towards the time when all lettings agents must be legally required to sign up for a redress scheme, as is already the case with sales.”