The Property Redress Scheme says complaints it received about agents increased last year by 62% to 560, with the bulk of issues raised being about lettings firms.
The actual number of complaints – not given in the annual report but obtained by EYE – is very low.
Complaints about lettings agents made up most disputes at 448, another 38 were for sales, 30 were for residential leasehold management and 44 for inventory management firms.
The report also reveals the number of expulsions for failing to adhere to a redress ruling over the period between December 2016 to November 2017, dropped from 25 in 2016 to 17 last year.
Of the 17 expulsions in 2017, two were reinstated.
Letting agents had the highest rate of compliance with decisions in their favour at 89%, while the rate was 75% for sales and 66% for leasehold management.
The report showed that the majority of disputes concerning agents last year (15%) were regarding complaints handling and service, while 12% were about fees and charges or management of the tenancy or relationship.
The PRS also backs mandatory Client Money Protection and said complaints about this rose 41% from 2016.
The PRS had 6,787 agency offices signed up in 2017, the report shows – up from 5,259 in 2016, with 39% registered for sales and 71% for lettings.
Separate data in the report for the period July 1 2016 to June 30 2017 – representing figures submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government – showed that the most common financial compensation ordered to be paid by agents to consumers was between £100 and £499, while 13 were for the higher £1,000 to £2,999 threshold.
Sean Hooker, head of redress at PRS, said: “Our membership continues to grow at an astonishing rate but it is the increase in complaint numbers which shows the value we are providing to the property industry.”