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Trading Standards warns agents they must switch to valid redress scheme soon

The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team has this morning issued a warning to agents that they must be signed up to a valid redress service.

From August 6 - just three weeks from now - one of the three official redress schemes, Ombudsman Services, will no longer be providing redress: any agent using that scheme will have to switch.

This morning’s message reads:


The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) is urging any estate agent still signed up with Ombudsman Services to switch to one of the other schemes as soon as possible. 

Agents who have not made the switch by 6 August will leave customers unable to access free alternative dispute resolution services, and will be trading illegally.

After 6 August NTSEAT will be provided by Ombudsman Services a list of estate agents who haven’t switched to the other redress schemes and these agents will be targeted for enforcement action.

“Estate agents don’t need to leave it to the last minute to switch – contact either the Property Redress Scheme or The Property Ombudsman today to make the arrangements and ensure that you can continue to trade legally after 6 August” says James Munro from the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team.

“Many estate agents have already switched and any agents who do not switch can expect to be targeted for enforcement action by National Trading Standards.”

Contact details for the other approved redress schemes are as follows:

•           Property Redress Scheme: www.theprs.co.uk

•           The Property Ombudsman: www.tpos.co.uk

The withdrawal of Ombudsman Services follows the announcement of a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consultation earlier this year looking at how all aspects of the housing sector - new-builds, agencies and lettings - could be integrated into just one Ombudsman scheme.

Ombudsman Services said it was pulling out of the old system because it was "broken".

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    As a former Ombudsman Services: Property subscriber, I am intrigued to understand the pricing adopted by the other 2 schemes available. According to NTSEAT a business is regarded as "a person" whereas an employee does not need an individual membership, covered by the business's membership. That doesn't appear to apply to the 2 schemes who charge on a per office/branch basis even where
    1. the business has subscribed or
    2. the same staff work on a rota in smaller satellite branches, thus have to effectively pay twice for redress that will end up in the business owner's lap in any event.
    Faced with such a significant rise in redress fees, it would be good to see some justification from NTSEAT or the redress schemes involved. A 20 man branch pays the same as a 2 man branch -hardly fair or justifiable I would have thought.

    jeremy clarke

    we can all see where this is going. Charges will escalate as time goes on further penalising not only the smaller operators but also those who have never had reason to use any redress scheme to settle disputes! Once government see an opportunity, they will "invent" a reason for one of their departments/pals/old school chums to set up and operate the only redress scheme by which time we will all be hanging from the rafters by our short & curlies!
    Government (local & central) are completely clueless when it comes to the housing market, they see their position as one of making false promises e.g. the dianne abbot school of accounting -" we will build 11 billionty houses next month" and introducing layers of regulations not fit for purpose that just serve to "squash" the PRS, the agents and everyone else involved in housing.
    I. like many, have absolutely no idea why government are on this quest but as with many landlords and agents I have no intention of hanging around for years to see the catastrophic results!


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