There’s been a very large rise in the number of complaints submitted by consumers to the Property Redress Scheme.
This is partly but not wholly accounted for by a rise in the number of agents with the PRS.
The total number of complaints submitted in 2019 increased from 959 to 1,444 although the scheme only accepted 601 of them for investigation.
Of those, 77 per cent related to lettings and 15 per cent to sales; the remaining eight per cent related to residential lettings management.
No fewer than 66 member agencies were expelled last year; five for breaching the PRS memorandum of understanding and 61 for non-compliance.
Close to 90 per cent of the scheme's decisions were complied with and 12 agents were later reinstated following their compliance with the scheme’s decisions.
The average award made to complainants was £1,224.81 and the scheme awarded £616,000 in total. Its highest award was £25,000.
In lettings the most common reason for complaints was withholding deposits, which has increased 29 per cent compared to the previous year.
The scheme’s membership over the same period - December 1 2018 to November 30 2019 - rose from 8,608 to 12,249.
“We aim to provide the best service for our members, which is why we’ve focussed on reducing the time it takes to resolve a complaint using early resolution. We’ve got this down to just 42 days from complaint to closure, 16 days less than the previous period” explains Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the scheme.
“We hope to continue to improve this record, which is why we launched our tenancy mediation service earlier this year. Not only will that help agents resolve issues faster, but it will also help with compliance as all parties will have worked together to bring the complaint to a resolution.”