How To Complain About an Estate Agent
Updated April 2011
If you are dissatisfied with the service you receive from your estate agent and wish to complain, there are some basic guidelines to follow that should help you resolve your complaint.
By law, all estate agents must belong to a regulatory scheme approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). There are only two approved schemes, The Property Ombudsman and the Ombudsman Services: Property. If your estate agent is not a member of either of these schemes they are breaking the law and should be reported to Trading Standards.
First, register your complaint with the estate agent themselves. Any reputable estate agent will have an in-house complaints procedure overseen by a senior member of staff, who may be able to resolve your complaint without the need to take further action.
Itís important to note there is a time limit to registering your complaint, which is different depending on which of the schemes your agent is a member of. Members of The Property Ombudsman have 12 months for you to register your complaint while members of the Ombudsman Services: Property have a nine month window.
For this reason it is always a very wise move to choose your Estate Agent based on either or both of these governing body memberships as agencies whom are members must abide by their conduct and code of practice regulations. Be wary also that if they are not members of either or both of these associations then you can do little if your complaint is not resolved through the agents complaints department.
Estate Agents which are members of these governing bodies will display the logo on items such as stationary, websites and in window displays.
If your complaint is not adequately resolved then itís time to contact the relevant ombudsman with details of your grievance.
For members of the Property Ombudsman, contact:
4 Bridge Street
Tel: 01722 333 306
Fax: 01722 332 296
For members of the Ombudsman Services: Property, contact:
PO Box 1021
Tel: 0330 440 1634 or 01925 530 270
Fax: 0330 440 1635 or 01925 530 271
Remember to include full details of your complaint. Regardless of which ombudsman scheme you use, you can be granted compensation of up to £25,000. You can accept or reject the decision. Should you accept, the firm must also accept and take relevant action; should you reject, you can then decide what other action, including legal action, to take.
Failing the estate agent is not a member of either, then you can register a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) or Trading Standards (TS) who have the power to close an agency down if it finds them unfit to carry out estate agency work under the Estate Agents Act 1979 (EAA) regulations.
- Complain to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
In writing to:
Office of Fair Trading
2-6 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JX
Phone: 020 7211 8000
Fax: 020 7211 8800
- Complain to Trading Standards (TS)
Visit their website (www.tradingstandards.gov.uk) and use their postcode lookup tool to find your local office contact details.