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".