News item

New consumer redress scheme for estate agents approved

A new consumer redress scheme which will provide free, fair and an independent service for dealing with disputes between registered estate agents and home buyers/sellers, has been approved.

The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team has formally approved an application by HF Resolution Ltd to run a consumer redress scheme under the Estate Agents Act 1979.

The Property Redress Scheme will join the two existing redress schemes that provide a free, fair and independent service for dealing with unresolved disputes between registered estate agents and consumers who are buy and selling residential property in the UK.

All estate agents who deal with residential property are legally required to sign up to an approved redress scheme.

The team, which is hosted by Powys County Council, is responsible for the approval and monitoring of consumer redress schemes in the UK under the Estate Agents Act 1979.  It can also issue formal banning and warning orders against individuals and businesses where they have breached certain requirements of the Act.

Cllr John Powell, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards, said: “From time to time, disputes will arise between estate agents and those selling or buying residential property. When disputes do occur, it’s important that they are resolved properly. If a dispute remains unresolved, then these consumer redress schemes can deal with it by offering an free and independent service which is fair for both parties.”

James Munro, Team Leader for the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, said: “By law, anyone engaging in ‘estate agency work’ must be a member of an approved redress scheme.

Failure to join one of three schemes now available could result in a £1,000 penalty charge, which would be enforced by the local trading standards service.”

Further information for businesses is available from www.powys.gov.uk/estateagency

Members of the public who need advice can check out their rights with Citizen’s Advice at www.adviceguide.org.uk or telephone 03454 040506 (English) / 03454 040505 (Welsh).

ENDS

Notes for Editors  

  1. The existing redress scheme operators are: The Property Ombudsman www.tpos.co.uk, and Ombudsman Services: Property www.ombudsman-services.org 
  2. Further information is available from the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team: email estate.agency@powys.gov.uk

 DATE: 22 July 2014