New redress scheme publishes first report

The Property Redress Scheme has released its first interim report, covering the period from last summer through to the end of 2014.

Publication of results covering such a short year means that the Property Redress Scheme will now be able to prepare a full annual report for 2015.

The scheme, operated by commercial insurance firm Hamilton Fraser, is not an ombudsman scheme but offers an authorised redress scheme.

Its new report says that unresolved complaints can be elevated to the head of redress.

The Property Redress Scheme says its case assessors try and resolve cases. If one or both parties do not accept the decision, the complaint can be escalated to either formal mediation or an ombudsman to make a final binding decision.

The Property Redress Scheme reports for last year that by October 1, when it became compulsory for letting agents to belong to a redress scheme, it had 1,300 offices. By the end of last year, this was 2,506, of which 31% were registered for sales, and 79% for lettings.

Almost all the agents – 82% – had signed up for the cheapest model, costing £95 plus VAT per head office and the same again per branch. Costs are added in when a complaint is escalated to £60 plus VAT for an agent with Client Money Protection insurance, and £90 plus VAT for agents who do not have this insurance.

Sean Hooker, the scheme’s head of redress, says in the report that of those agents who do not meet legal obligations, “very few intentionally break the rules but are simply inexperienced and lacking in guidance”.

The report for last year contains no complaints data or statistics, but these are due to be provided in the 2015 annual report.

Its commercial links were raised in Parliament by Baroness Hayter.

The report is here


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