Hike in complaints against agents leads to sharp rise in compensation

Sean Hooker

The Property Redress Scheme (PRS) has released its annual report for 2023 revealing that complaints received against their property agent members has increased by a fifth.

In its tenth year, the report, which covers the activities of over 19,000 individual members and branches, including national and regional agents, shows that complaint enquiries rose throughout the year by an average of 20% compared to 2022. By December 2023, the PRS had investigated 55% more cases than the previous year.

The average rate of complaints for each member reduced to a little over 8%, down from over 10% in 2022.

In addition, complaints were completed, on average, in around 40 days from the time the PRS received them. This is consistent with the previous year.

The top three complaints for lettings were: holding deposits, poor service and management, and tenancy payments and rent collection.

Despite increasing complaint numbers, the PRS has continued to successfully resolve around 50% of cases at early resolution.

Early resolutions awarded a total of £359,426 in 2023, which is a small increase on 2022 (£353,053). An early resolution is a settlement made between the parties meaning the PRS does not have to make a formal decision.

The PRS issued 24% more decisions in 2023 than in 2022.

The total figure awarded for decisions was £953,062.24. This is an increase of 95% from 2022 (£489,916).

The average award was £1,832.81 and the total figure awarded for early resolution and decisions combined was £1,312,488

The report also reveals that 58 agencies were expelled, compared to 61 in 2022.

Meanwhile, membership numbers grew by 7% to 17,459 agents, including 1,397 registered branches throughout the UK.

Sean Hooker, head of redress at the PRS, said: “The notable increase in financial awards underlines the growing volume of complaints, compounded by a lack of engagement from a minority of members. Despite this, it’s encouraging to observe a reduction in complaints per member, indicative of improved efficiency in our investigative processes. Our steadfast commitment to early resolution has proven effective, reflecting a shared willingness among parties to reach amicable solutions.

“As we strive to support, educate, and improve industry standards while continuing to clamp down on some of the poor practices that ensue, our adoption of innovative approaches like mediation and early resolution has yielded positive outcomes, fostering greater satisfaction among stakeholders.

“This report reaffirms our dedication to growth, innovation, and excellence, positioning us as the premier avenue for swift and effective resolution of property disputes. Our flexibility and cost-effectiveness make us the preferred choice for businesses of all sizes, further cementing our reputation for exceptional service and professionalism.



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