1. Speak to your agent first
This gives the agent a chance to put the situation right and is the fastest route to getting your complaint solved. All agencies must provide a complaints procedure for their business by law, ask them for a copy directly if you can not find it on their website.
It's best to put your complaint in writing and you should receive a response within 15 days. Keep copies of any correspondence and ask them to confirm:
- Who is handling your complaint
- What they propose to do to resolve it
- How long it will take to resolve
2. Contact the independent redress scheme
There are two schemes to look our for: The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and Property Redress Scheme (PRS) and most agents display which one they belong to on their website.
If your complaint has not been resolved by the agent, having been given a reasonable time to do so, then you should contact the redress scheme.
Redress schemes have the authority to ensure that the agent takes action to remedy any problem arising from a complaint. If the redress scheme supports your complaint, they can also impose that the agent grant you compensation.
3. Send your complaint to Propertymark
If neither the agent or independent redress scheme have provided a satisfactory outcome to your complaint then, provided the agent is one of our members, you can send your complaint to us.
We will investigate complaints against our members where there is evidence that the agent has breached our conduct and membership rules.
Are they a member?
- Failure to provide a complaints procedure
- Misuse of client money
- Failure to uphold high standards of ethical and professional practice
- Failure to protect and promote clients’ interests
- Conflicts of interest
- Failure to answer correspondence
- Any act of dishonesty or conviction of a criminal offence
- Anyone who is not a member
- Tenancy deposit disputes
Client Money Protection (CMP) is a scheme that reimburses landlords and tenants should an agent misappropriate rent or other client funds.
We promote higher professional standards and the law demands. Propertymark members voluntarily commit to providing exceptional service and to ensure they are at the forefront of the industry.
Logos displayed in branch windows and on websites represent various schemes which that particular agent belongs to. Some schemes are a legal requirement and others are voluntary, so what do they actually mean?
What happens next?
The next steps will depend on whether the complaint leads to a disciplinary hearing. Some cases do not require a hearing and you will be informed of the outcome in writing. In cases with sufficient evidence, a disciplinary hearing with an independent tribunal panel will take place.
Once we have received your complaint we try to work within the following timescales:
- Day 1: Complaint Form and associated information and evidence received, which must include evidence that the member’s internal complaints procedure has been used and completed, if applicable.
- Day 7: This information is copied to the member and they must respond in writing to Propertymark within 21 days of the information being sent to them.
- Day 28: Complainant provided with the member’s response, if applicable.
- Day 130: Propertymark completes its assessment of the case.
Things may move quicker if replies are received from complainants and/or the agents sooner. However, they may also be reasonably delayed varied in exceptional circumstances.
Once we have received all the evidence and fully reviewed the case there can be the following outcomes:
- We can’t support the case because the complainant has not used and completed the members’ internal complaints process, there is no case to answer, or we do not have enough evidence to move forward;
- The member admits breaches with our membership and conduct rules and we use our own powers to conclude the case; or
- A formal disciplinary hearing in front of an independent tribunal is brought against the member by Propertymark.
If we support your case the following actions may be taken against the member, depending on the severity of the issue:
- A caution;
- A formal warning;
- That an independent accounts inspection and report be carried out at the members expense;
- A fine not exceeding £5000 for every rule breached (not every sub rule breached), including for failure to co-operate in a disciplinary investigation. For the breaches of the specific Anti Money Laundering rules the maximum level of penalty is €5 million.
- Expulsion from membership. Fines may be applied in addition to expulsion.
Trading Standards and other regulatory bodies may be informed about findings which relate to any area of the property sector.
Latest disciplinary report
Disciplinary hearings take place when serious breaches of our conduct and membership rules occur A tribunal will consider the case and will impose sanctions if the member is found to have breached our rules.
A Disciplinary Tribunal was held on 15 January 2020 to consider the case against Mr Aaron McKinney. A further appeal hearing was held on 17 November 2020 via the Zoom virtual conference platform.