- The Property Ombudsmans exists on behalf of consumers
- It refunds money lost during a dispute with a lettings or estate agent
- Average compensation is £100 – £200, plus a payment to cover the money lost
It acts on behalf of consumers and can win back money they’ve lost during a dispute with their estate agent.
But the Property Ombudsman’s average compensation may not be as much as aggrieved homeowners had been holding out for.
Head of the Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle says: ‘A serious case would be £1,000 compensation but it could go higher than that.
‘But normally it would be £100 to £200 compensation plus any money that is lost.’
Average compensation from The Property Ombudsman is between £100 to £200 compensation, plus a payout covering the money that is lost
In addition to compensation, the Property Ombudsman also gives awards for financial loss as a direct result of an agent’s action.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline Property’s, Mrs Sporle claimed that £1.3million was paid out in money lost by consumers last year.
With around ‘4,000 complex cases’ last year, the award to cover money lost equates to around £325 per payout on average based on open cases. This figure increases if the average is based on the number of closed cases, reaching £532 for sales and £625 for lettings.
While not be sniffed at, a few hundred quid is perhaps not the redress that many consumers are hoping for if they feel they had lost out on thousands of pounds due to what they felt was a error by their estate or lettings agent.
And the time spent sending dozens of emails back and forth and filling out complaint forms mean that it could be less than worth your while financially raising the issue with the Property Ombudsman.
So why should you?
The Property Ombudsman said £1.3million was paid out in money lost by consumers last year
With 90 officers and 50 adjudicators at the Property Ombudsman, Mrs Sporle claims it applies what is ‘fair and reasonable’ and ‘puts consumers back to where they were before they lost out, plus compensation’.
‘We aim for an early resolution,’ she insists.
Official figures show four awards of more than £9,999 against estate agents last year and nine against letting agents.
In addition there were five awards of between £4,999 and £9,999 on the sales side and 21 on the lettings side last year.
The Property Ombudsman received 23,841 enquiries in 2017. However, it could be argued that there is a flaw.
The Property Ombudsman is funded through fees from its members – the very people that consumers are complaining about: lettings and estate agents.
However, Mrs Sporle insisted decisions are always independent.
She said: ‘The Property Ombudsman Service provides fair, free and independent advice to protect consumers against poor behaviour from agents and to put things right when things go wrong.
‘We were set up 27 years ago when it was recognised that consumers needed a place to go when they had exhausted an organisation’s internal complaint’s process, but wanted an alternative to avoid the expense and time taken by going to court.’
She added: ‘We are funded by the industry but our decision making is absolutely independent and we always base our decision on the evidence that is provided to us by both parties.
‘Our role is much broader than only putting things right when things go wrong; more importantly we work closely with the industry to raise standards to try and avoid the problems arising for consumers in the first place.’