Ombudsman Services withdraws from property and housing sector

by Moderator User | Aug 06, 2018

Ombudsman Services (OS) is reminding property and housing companies that today (Monday 6 August) marks its last day handling consumer complaints in the sector.

Any company that provides sales, lettings or managing agency services and is still signed up with Ombudsman Services for dispute resolution will need to switch to either The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.

Nicolette Granite, an ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said: “Today marks the culmination of a six-month managed withdrawal process, a key part of which has been informing property and housing companies registered with OS of our decision to withdraw from the sector.

“We have contacted participating companies on numerous occasions as part of a comprehensive communications and awareness campaign. We’re pleased to report that, as a result, many have taken the important step of signing up with a different scheme in what has been a smooth transition. 

“It’s possible that a small number of companies may have missed the deadline. If your company falls into this category, our advice would be to register as soon as possible with either The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.” 

She added: “During the past six months we have worked closely with stakeholders including the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team. This collaboration will continue after today.

“Consumers can be assured that, if their complaint falls within our terms of reference and was accepted by us on or before 6 August, it will be investigated through to resolution.”

Ombudsman Services announced in February that it would stop handling property and housing complaints after 6 August.

The not-for-profit organisation, which is one of the UK’s largest multi-sector ombudsman scheme providers, says the current system of housing redress is overly complex and confusing for consumers.

A graphic published by Ombudsman Services last month shows there are nearly 40 services, charities, advice groups and trade bodies involved in a system that it says is “failing consumers.”

Ombudsman Services is urging the government to introduce a single ombudsman for the housing and property sector – an idea that was put forward in a Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government consultation earlier this year.

Ombudsman Services responded to the consultation with the findings of a wide-ranging consumer and stakeholder dialogue called Building Balance: Restoring power to consumers in the housing sector.

If you are a property or housing company, contact details for the remaining approved redress schemes in the sector can be found below:

ENDS