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Enquiries to The Property Ombudsman reach record high in 2020

  • 24/08/2021
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Enquiries to The Property Ombudsman reach record high in 2020
The number of enquiries made to The Property Ombudsman (TPO) last year rose 29 per cent annually to a high of 39,285.


The online portal played a role in the number of enquiries received, as 17,359 were submitted accounting for nearly half of the reports. 

Over 34,000 enquiries were resolved at first contact through advice, guidance and signposting while 5,122 were accepted as complaints. 

TPO resolved 4,181 cases, an increase of 12 per cent on last year. The majority were handled in the latter half of the year. 

Of these, 2,907 were supported by the Ombudsman and 2,473 financial awards were made totalling £1.9m, down 13 per cent on 2019. 

TPO dealt with 2,737 complaints relating to lettings, 1,656 relating to sales, 1,194 for residential leasehold management (RLM) and 120 for other property professionals.  

The biggest awards were made to lettings complaints at £20,838, followed by sales at £24,139 and RLM at £10,642. 

Across lettings, 69 per cent of complaints were supported by the Ombudsman. Some 55 per cent of complaints were made by landlords while 43 per cent came from tenants. 

Within sales, 65 per cent of complaints were supported. Of these, 68 per cent came from sellers and 30 per cent were made by buyers. 

Just 40 per cent of RLM complaints were upheld. Some 80 per cent of those were made by leaseholders, with resident associations, resident management companies and right to manage companies among the remaining 20 per cent. 

Rebecca Marsh, Property Ombudsman, said: “2020 was a year like no other for all businesses and everyone had to quickly respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. TPO effectively transitioned from an office-based service to a remote working operation with no loss of service. I’m extremely proud of the whole team who performed well whilst rising to the challenge of global events. 

“Our customer services team responded to another record volume of consumer enquiries with an ever-increasing number of people opting to contact us via TPO’s complaints portal, launched in February 2020. The pandemic is not over yet, so it will be interesting to see if this trend continues or adjusts as we slowly get back to normal. 

She added: “Enquiry levels in 2021 are already showing further year-on-year increases and we are expecting this to continue as the impact of the pandemic on peoples’ relationships with their homes continues to play out.” 

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