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Property Ombudsman: making a complaint

Having an issue with your estate agent, quick sale firm or lettings company? Been treated badly but have found that complaining to them has gotten you nowhere? That’s where a Property Ombudsman can step in. We take a look at how they work and how they can help you...

property ombudsman

Whether you’re buying, selling or renting a home, we all know things can and do go wrong in the property world and that’s sometimes because someone messes up. But what can you do if you find yourself out of pocket or seriously inconvenienced because of a property professional? Well, if they aren’t listening to you, you could take your case to the courts. On the off chance you haven’t got a few thousand pounds and a few free months to spare, you may be looking for an easier option. And that’s where an Ombudsman comes into it.

In short, these redress schemes provide consumers with a free alternative to going to court and should independently resolve your complaint about a company.

Who are Ombudsmen and how do they work?

There are now two redress schemes for the property industry: The Property Omubudsman (TPOs) and The Property Redress Scheme. There was a third called Ombudsman Services: Property, but they are no longer operating in the property sector.

Which Ombudsman you go to depends on which redress scheme the company you are complaining about is a member of

The Property Ombudsman (TPOS)

The Property Ombudsman Service is the largest scheme and was established in 1990.

TPOS will do everything possible to offer you advice and guidance and will undertake early resolutions wherever possible.  If a complaint is complex, the Property Ombudsman  will consider all the evidence from both parties  (it’s vital that you include as much supporting information as possible).  If the Ombudsman thinks you have a point, it will contact the company you’re complaining about with a decision. The company then have 14 days to accept that decision or appeal against it.  They can only appeal, however, if they can prove there is an error in the Ombudsman’s findings or if new evidence has come to light. The Ombudsman will then write to you with their decision and you’ll have 28 days to respond to it.

If TPOS supports your claim, it can make a financial award to you of up to £25,000, although it’s unlikely you’d ever get that much. The Ombudsman says average claims are usually closer to £500 for lettings complaints and £350 for sales.

TPOS says the most common complaints relate to communication, record keeping and marketing.

The Property Redress Scheme

The Property Redress Scheme was launched in 2014 and is part of HF Resolution LTD which also runs the tenancy deposit scheme, My Deposits.

When you complain to the Property Redress Scheme, a case assessor will first assess the validity of the claim. The company is then given the chance to resolve the complaint or send a rebuttal within 10 working days. After this time period, the case assessor will decide if the complaint should progress.

Once again, any decision made by the Scheme can only be changed if an error has been made. Once confirmed, you’ll have 15 working days to confirm whether you agree with the decision and, if you do, the company in question will have 10 working days to comply with it.

If you don’t agree with the Ombudsman’s decision you can take your case to the courts

What powers do the Property Ombudsman have?

All two schemes can make a financial award of up to £25,000, although awards tends to be much smaller.

If the scheme member does not comply with what has been ordered of them, they’ll be expelled from the scheme. This may sound a bit of a non-punishment (like being told you’re no longer allowed to follow the rules at work) but it does actually have consequences. You see, in order to operate as a property business, firms must be a member of one of these authorised redress scheme bodies. If they’re not, they can no longer carry on trading. If a company is kicked out of one scheme for not following the rules, it’s unlikely either of the other two schemes are going to be welcoming them with open arms. In short, it’s game over for that company.

There is an agreement between the redress schemes that if an agent has not honoured the decision of one of the schemes, they cannot join another scheme until that obligation has been met.

Can I complain to a Property Ombudsman straight away?

No, both schemes will require you to complain directly to the company first using their internal complaints procedure. It’s only once you have exhausted this and still not got anywhere that the Property Ombudsman will step in. You must give the company eight weeks in order to respond to your complaint before contacting an Ombudsman.

As part of this process make sure that if you accept any offer or reduced fee from the agent, that you do so on a “without prejudice basis” and not in full and final settlement of the dispute.  To do otherwise could mean you are no longer permitted to take your complaint to the Ombudsman.

I can’t work out which Ombudsman to complain to?

As we mentioned, which one you go to depends on the which redress scheme the company is a member of. If it isn’t displayed in their shop window or website, ask the firm with which you have a dispute. Otherwise, you could check the websites of the three schemes where member firms are listed. In the event that the company in question is not a member of any of the schemes, you can complain to the trading standards.


Leave a comment (76)* Required

  1. Simon WoodSimon Wood

    I’m buying a house the completion date I was told was the 21st December then the day before the 20th December I was told the seller had not agreed on the date but I payed the deposit and the solicitors fees because they sent me the bill and now they will not agree on a completion date I dont think the solicitors have handled this properly is there anything I can do.

  2. RThakerRThaker

    Hi, I need some advice on a decision based on a property survey (a property I’m buying). I’m buying an old school house which was converted into teachers accommodation. The property is now being sold and we are looking into buying it to convert back into a family home (my elderly parents are moving in with us, we have two kids and both work from home) It’s quite large (8 bedroom).
    The surveyor has said that he thinks this is a commercial project and not fit for a residential mortgage. My question is, can a surveyor just make a decision like this based on his “opinion”? Any advice would be gratefully received.

  3. Ray DickinsonRay Dickinson

    The developer of my new build has consistently refused to rectify most of my snagging problems reported in the first 2 years. Sennocke, the Warranty provider have now written say he’s only obliged to rectify those reported in the first 2 weeks. Can I discussion my position. with solicitor, please. RD

  4. Mdg brown sw12Mdg brown sw12

    My freeholders have me suicidal.. demanding £22,000 ‘service’ fees for their own private development.
    Can the Ombudsman help with fraudulent Freeholders

  5. Stephen GibsonStephen Gibson

    I put a offer over the asking price to make a sale ,the estate agent , never contacted the person who’s house it is to tell them ,going back up to estate agent s office tomorrow, to complain ,tell them I’m getting in touch with ombudsman

  6. Peter BradleyPeter Bradley

    Dear Housing Ombudsman,

    I own a house in a small group of five detached houses.
    All five houses were built in 2009 at the same time and by the same nationwide builder.

    We have discovered eleven major issues which are universally endemic across all five houses.

    In 2014 we formed a group or class, nominated one resident as the spokesperson to deal directly with the builder.
    Between 2014 and 2020 this group or class action process successfully resolved eight of the eleven issues, some of which were dangerous in nature and a ever present risk to health.

    We are left with three final issues which appeared to be close to resolution.
    The national builder had a recent change in management including a new CEO and regional managers.
    This new management is not only stalling on a final resolution but now trying to split the group up and deal with each resident individually. They previously tried to resolve an issue with one owner under an NDA such that the other four owners with the same issue would not know about the remedial action and not in a position to have the issue fixed in their houses. Fortunately this NDA attempt falied and hence why we formed a cooperative.

    We believe that we have the legal right to continue as a group with one appointed spokesperson.

    Would you please confirm that this form of group/class action approach is legal and within our rights?

    Take care
    Peter Bradley
    On behalf of the five residents of 1 Woodland Copse, Ifold, Billingshurst, RH14 0ED

  7. Sherol HorshamSherol Horsham

    A few years ago, I had problems with the estate agent that was suppose to sell my property and ended up having to go to auction for a fast sale because they messed me around for over a year. I didn’t know about this service with the Ombudsman and want to know if am too late to try for compensation from the estate agent. I lost thousands and now have no home. I was taken advantage of and nieve to the property process which they used to their advantage.

  8. Sherol HorshamSherol Horsham

    A few years ago, I had problems with the estate agent that was suppose to sell my property and ended up having to go to auction for a fast sale because they messed me around for over a year. I didn’t know about this service with the Ombudsman and want to know if am too late to try for compensation from the estate agent. I lost thousands and now have no home.

  9. Tatiana UrsuTatiana Ursu

    Dear Ombudsman,
    We have purchased a new built house in April from the developer: GROVELAND ESTATES LIMITED (Company Reg. No. 03503695). In May we started to observe some infiltration on the ceiling in the basement, so we contacted the developer to report this building failure and to request this to be fixed as the water is dripping inside the house. Up until today the problems is not sorted out, and the developer is ignoring our messages and not answering our phone calls. Please advise and help on what steps should be taken to bring the developer to responsibility and accountability to fix the building failure.
    Thank you,

  10. Ken NewburyKen Newbury

    Dear sir, in 2018 my dear wife suffered a serious brain bleed.
    She was rushed to Hospital and finally diagnosed as having Alhzeimers and Dementia.
    All this occured in our new house in Easton-in-Gordano, Somerset.
    I moved my wife to Essex, to a Care Home, so she could have local family visits.
    I had to move from our house to be near my wife myself.
    I have now had to sell our home, to pay my wifes fees and to get somewhere to live for me.
    Lots of nasty things have gone on during the conveyancing.

    Please, im 77years old, with health probs and I badly need the help of an Omsbudsman?
    Yours sincerely,
    Ken Newbury


    Hi, We recently sold our house and home.Whilst trying to agree a mutually agreeable completion date for both parties ,we approached an estate agent to find a rental property.That is the beginning, unfortunately the day before completion the buyer’s lender with drew.As we agreed to the terms and conditions noted on the pre tenancy agreement,agent refused to refund holding deposit of £553 as the monthly letting fee was £1400.At no time did the agent notify ourselves of this until my telephone call to them.We would like to know if this is correct or are we just being charged for referencing.The agent’s representative had told us when unfortunately we could no go forward with the tenancy, No tenancy agreement had been signed.When they were notified about this we wer told because referencing had been done they would not be refunding 1 weeks holding deposit. As we have never rented before we needed advice and guidance.Did the agent expect us to sign a tenancy agreement as well as having to remarket our own property and still pay the mortgage? We feel these were exceptional circumstances .If the agent has the right to keep our money where does it go or how is allocated in accounts

  12. Jordan smithJordan smith

    Hi there,

    We’re currently in the process of selling our home and buying a new home we went with ewmove and our house sold within 9 days we’re now in the process of the paperwork which was sold to us to use a company called ASAP. They are supposed to do sales fast. With this ASAP have subcontracted the solicitors to a company called apex law and both ASAP and apex law it’s like pulling teeth getting to know updates and on how far we are with the process we’re currently awaiting enquiry reply’s from the our sellers solicitors which has been going of for 2 weeks now we’ve been informed that the whole house sale should take between 8-10 weeks and now into our 10th week with no completion date yet we’re in abit of a sticky situation as we were told the sale and purchase would be a quick and easy process yet seems to be taking if a long time. Throughout this process it’s taken many emails with apex law for them to get back in contact with us and provide updates and even then it’s very few and far between they were very hostile on the phone telling my partner last week look if you don’t like it you can always get another solicitor we’re worried about the our money from the sale of our house and the potential of it all falling through at this late stage

  13. Michelle TaylorMichelle Taylor

    My neighbour is resorting to intimidating me daily by glaring through my windows. Shouting abuse at me as well as ringing my landlord. All this because of parking. Ive live here for 18 years and my landlord has never had a complaint until now.
    The neighbour has 3 cars which he moves every day so that if 1 car leaves he takes up at least 3 spaces so when his wife returns she has a space in front of the house. This happens every day without fail.
    But tonight I found out he had reported me to my landlord, who then called me as he had, had a complaint the day before. Whilst on the phone to my landlord, I observed him through my bedroom window starring into my living room with a very angry look trying to prirvock a response.I obviously told this to my landlord.
    Later on he confronted me in the street & I said he was intimidating me & hes a bully. He then moved his car so his wife could park but continued with the abuse. Once I spoke to his wife she said she knew nothing about him calling my landlord, that it has nothing to do with them & told him to go in. But he continued calling me it, that, her etc. He wouldnt even listen to his own wife.
    My father has just been diagnosed with terminal brain tumour and having this person do this not only to me but other neighbours over the years is outragus . He has bullied everyone who has a car or made a noise.
    Please help because he thinks he can get away with it just because he owns his property.

  14. Gary WhitehillGary Whitehill

    Reporting homebuyers

  15. Jan DelportJan Delport

    I am in the process of re-mortgaging my property and the lender has requested a EWS1 form however the property managing company does not want to issue one. Can you poease let me know what rights I have to request a EWS1 form?

  16. colin trothcolin troth

    Hi I am confused as to where I complain about a recent house survey done on my behalf – I cannot find where to go next, this website does not make it clear?

  17. maria addisonmaria addison

    We bought an ex council house from a private seller last year with the intention of getting planning to build a new house for us on the side garden. The housing association has another 4 years of covenant which stops us selling before offering it to them first, BUT it turns out they also have another one on, which stops us building ever, unless it is an extension even though they sold part of my and the neighbours garden off 10 years ago to a private buyer who then built a bungalow.
    The big blow is that we have been given planning to build only to discover this problem when I contacted land reg on another matter. Our conveyancer had not pointed this out despite our writing to him to inform him of our plans some 2 months or more before the sale went through. We have spoken to 2 lawyers and both having seen the emails between us say we have a case, but this would probably cost us a lot more than we can afford. Any ideas?
    We would MUCH rather get the covenant overturned and proceed with the build and our lives but I spoke to said housing association and they refuse and my conveyancer has washed his hands of it and says if we have a problem sue him!

  18. Mrs AMrs A

    Long story short but my husband and I placed an offer on a property which we were told had a lot of interest. The estate agency ( (EA) told us we HAD to speak with their mortgage person to ensure our finances are legitimate. I explained I had spoken to my mortgage company already, but the EA was insistent. So we agreed. We went through all finances and he told us vendors like to keep everything altogether with the agents so it all runs smoother. We have never gone through this process before so went with it. The mortgage guy asked for all our documentation so he could avoid delays should our offer be accepted. He said that we were the highest bidders at that point.
    A few days later he called to say that the vendor had accepted an offer from someone else. I asked to increase my offer and he tried to put me off which I found odd. Eventually he said in order to be in for a chance we needed to increase our offer by around 10k. We agreed to do this and he took our increased offer and said he would pass it on. Luckily for us the house we want is a few doors away from a family member, so they asked the vendor if our offer had been passed on, to which she said no, at that point it hadn’t. We heard nothing from the EA, yet I had received an email from the mortgage guy chasing the documents for the mortgage. We called the the EA the next day to be told that the vendor decided to go with the other buyer, only because they had placed a higher offer. Again we asked to increase our offer and was told if you want to, so we did. Throughout all this we have never been given the option to increase our bid and have had to fight to do so. Our property is sold and we are moving in with family soon, we have finances in place to buy a house and the EA told us that it only came down to the other bidder giving a higher offer, as both parties are in good positions to buy the house. The vendor doesn’t want to do best and final offers according to the EA. We have consistently given the higher offer, yet the EA has never called us to say our offer is accepted, or given us the chance to increase our bid without a fight. I feel that the EA has someone lined up for this property and are going to make the vendor loose out on money and us loose purchasing the house based on them being biased towards the other bidder. What can I do?

  19. Earl BrownEarl Brown

    I was in the process of buying a new build flat but after the flat was surveyed the property was down valued and i was using help to buy and with the rule i was meant to get my deposit back , But the developers now refusing to return our reservation agreement even if i did not withdrawing from the sale –, i was told even with Help to buy application with or without a withdraw then I am entitled to receive our reservation fee back.

    I have contact the estate agent who is now ignoring, me the developer himself is refusing to return the fee

    I am really not sure what else to do

    can you please help

  20. ian cookian cook

    sterling surveys carried out a survey over a land dispute the land registry rectified sent out new boundaries of both properties in 2014 which both parties agreed to changes and new absolute titles where issued titles MS237081 and MS233891.
    the land registry have informed me these can be used in a court of law.
    Mr Andrew Lynch of sterling services has added areas of possession to the neighbours boarders MS233891 which has been used in court so can they challenge a title absolute which I believe in law is good to the world.
    when I asked sterling surveys they stated that it is over 28 days so to give information about the survey would cost me money, which I agreed to do they are now refusing to give any information and why Mr Andrew Lynch from sterling services has altered as if it was vacant possession and as I gave no information to Andrew Lynch to do his survey has he got a duty to contact the land registry to find the information he uses for his survey and can he alter a absolute title for use in court

  21. Fatima LeitaoFatima Leitao

    I have just moved to my new home in an area of up to 54 houses. Properties were previously owned by the MOD (sellers are Clerkenwell Estates (Headley) Ltd. They are using Patrick Gardner Estate Agents to sell the properties. My 3 neighbours are allocated one parking space each, in a cul-de-sac, opposite to my garage. But they are also using the sidewalk, next to their parking space and opposite to my garage and car, to park 2 cars instead, one behind the other and in so doing partially blocking access to my garage and car.

    I have spoken to the residents, two of them inform me that Patrick Gardner Estate Agent representative, told them they could also use the sidewalk to park cars. Because of my age, health, work and family, before I put an offer on my property, I had specifically asked the same representative, if the residents will use the sidewalk to park cars, but I was informed that they will not, as it is not a parking space. We were given false information in order to sell the properties. This was deliberately done, as one property was sold before and one after I put an offer on my property, so the estate agent representative was fully aware of the lies told to us

    I have again and again asked the estate agent to sort this parking issue as it is the direct cause of their lies. I would have never bought the property if they had been honest. They have been extremely unhelpful. I am fully aware that Patrick Gardner has direct access to the Sellers and can sort this parking issue instead of piling so much stress and anxiety on me. Is there anything that can be done?

  22. Richard GreenRichard Green

    Hi my name is Richard green l am seeking advice on my mortgage that l have through Lloyds Bank, it has gone passed the final payment date and l ha been trying to get an unfair mortgage sorted out. I have been in touch with my bank and they have advised me to get in touch with you too see if there is anything can be done. I am retired now and l really don’t know what to do,my last thing I done was talk to my bank about it and they told me to get in touch with the local ombudsman, hope you can help thanks l wait to hear from you.

  23. Simon WrigleySimon Wrigley

    My daughter signed up with Purple Bricks last year and had an offer on her house. The buyer has just pulled out due to the incredibly slow pace Purple Bricks have moved (over six moths since offer). Purple Bricks have said she still owes £999 despite the delays at their end. Is there a Government Ombudsman we can complain to?

  24. Mr WMr W

    I had my property up with 1 estate agent and rejected an offer. I decided to move agents due to shoddy service and showing no interest in trying to sell my property. I went with estate agent number 2 who introduced the same client who Estate agent 1 had introduced and verbally told I wasnt interested in selling anymore. I accepted an offer from the same buyer, but now Estate Agent 1 wants the fee as they introduced them. (however their service was terrible). Estate Agent 2 are willingly reluctant to pull out to let the deal go through with Estate Agent 1. Not sure the buyer is.

  25. Christine SandifordChristine Sandiford

    Is there anyone who can advise me on what to do about my conveyancing team who are not doing the job I’m paying them a considerable amount of money to do
    Kind regards

  26. Penny WilmshurstPenny Wilmshurst

    As this was our forever home, we spent every penny we had on getting the best quality kitchen we could afford and was told that Symphony was the best. We were never told by Bellway that this lacquered sprayed kitchen was subject to knocks and chipping (which Symphony said we should have been told and perhaps something Bellway should mention to customers in the future), or we would not have chosen this kitchen and upgraded.
    When we moved in, almost all of the kitchen cupboard doors were chipped/knocked or scratched and had to be replaced, originally we thought this was down to carelessness by the Workmen, almost 18/20 months on, we found ourselves in the same position again and almost all of the doors were replaced. The soft close hinges fell off numerous times and had to be replaced.

    The limestone/granite worktop had dropped and you could see the join, Symphony did say that this was down to bad fitting and it was replaced in September 2020.

    When Symphony came back in September 2020 to yet again change the chipped doors and the worksurface, they damaged a cupboard door that they had just fitted and chipped a drawer (which wasn’t even damaged). They also cracked 2 tiles and mixed up the hot and cold water taps. They also broke a hinge on the integral door, which has now come off completely. Symphony also said that the kitchen had not been fitted by Bellway properly in the first place. Apparently the kickplate had never been fitted properly, the integral cupboards hadn’t been fitted properly, which is why the washing machine was so noisy on the spinning cycle and the dishwasher is always moving and doors not lined up. Also there were no stoppers fitted on any of the cupboards.

    When Symphony came out in September, we were at a funeral so were not present when this work was done and the further damage caused.

    I feel that the kitchen is not the high standard and quality that we paid for and also not the quality we expect from a “five star Builder*. So disappointed with this kitchen, my husband and I have had several other properties with kitchens fitted and have never had this issue. We also have a laminate island from Howdens (purchased around the same time) which we had fitted after the Symphony kitchen was put in, and there is not one scratch or mark on it.
    We are people who take pride in our home and keep it clean and tidy and we have no children here, so feel that this is not natural wear and tear and definitely not a high spec kitchen.

    Bellway say that we have exhausted all of their complain procedures, but they haven’t even been out to view the kitchen or the damage. I don’t know where else to go and I really don’t think Bellway should get away with this treatment of their customers.

    Can you please help?

    Thank you

    Penny Wilmshurst

    Bellway refuse t

  27. Jane MarshallJane Marshall

    We put our house up for sale with two estate agents. Our buyer made an appointment to view the property with estate agent number 1. She then saw it advertised with estate agent number 2 and booked an earlier appointment with them. After viewing the property through estate agent number 2, she phoned estate agent number 1 to cancel the viewing and they said as we introduced you to the property the sale is ours. They are both saying the sale is theirs and although estate agent number 1 is happy to share the commission, estate agent are not and want the full commission. Where do we stand as we do not want to pay both sets of commission?

  28. NirupaNirupa

    Hi there,
    We thought to buy a house to let and we were looking for a property. Finally we found a nice property and made an offer, our offer was accepted.
    We paid mortgage advisor fee, property evaluation fee and solicitor deposit fee.
    Now we got a call from agent telling that the vendor want to withdraw their offer and don’t want t sell the house.
    I want to know that who is going to pay my losses.
    This is really unfair on the people who wants to buy a house.
    Any advice would be welcomed.

  29. EmilyEmily

    Hi there,

    We were in the process of buying a new build house, the developer remarketed the property without our knowledge, he’s now refusing to return our reservation agreement despite them withdrawing from the sale themselves – under the reservation agreement they provided with us, if they withdraw then we are entitled to receive our reservation fee back.

    Solicitors have advised us to contact the estate agent who are ignoring us, the developer himself is refusing to return the fee and believes that we owe him money.

    We’ve tried going through the building warranty provider – but he seems to have cut corners with this as well.

    Any advice would be welcomed!

  30. Har hari kaurHar hari kaur

    I own a student pod in Middlesbrough and the management company have increased the service charge to an exorbitant level. I would like to connect with other owners to force the management co to communicate properly with us. To act as a force. Due to data protection nobody can give information to me about who those people are. Surely there is a way that us leaseholders can get together to oppose the management company ? Any information will be gratefully received .

  31. MikeMike

    I found a property that was ideal for me as a first time buyer. I had everything in place Lender / solicitor etc all ready and agreed. The property I noticed was up with 2 agents, that red flagged something for me. All online pictures from both agents appeared normal. I made an enquiry with one I asked why it was on with two the girl I spoke to said it was a repo, So ok I left my details to be called back to speak to the senior sales advisor. A woman called back and when i mentioned the young grl had said it was a repo i was told flatly NO that was wrong it definitely wasn’t a repo it was just being sold by a company and so booked a viewing travelled 8 hour round trip to view it.

    At the viewing I noticed the front door had huge holes where the lock was positioned and there was tape on the bathroom fittings and kitchen taps no power and no water so both myself and my father asked the salesman twice if this was a repo property both times he said no it is not.

    I was satisfied the property was what I wanted so put an offer forward.

    The next day I had a call to say my offer of 65k wouldn’t be accepted but they would take 66k I naively said I didn’t make an offer of 65k I made 67k… the senior sales woman was confused and was about to take that when I said ok then 66k it is…Another red flag I should of seen but didn’t.
    I again asked was this property a repo as there was no power or water etc and again I was told No it definitely wasn’t a repo property. 5 mins later they called me back and said 66k had been accepted but I had to agree to a 28 exchange of contracts. Although short as I had everything in place I thought its tight but I can do that so reluctantly accepted conditionality.

    I got my solicitor to start the conveyancing and paid a fee upfront. I also then proceeded with my mortgage lender to get all the paperwork filed. A week after the offer the estate agent was calling me daily for an update on the searches and mortgage which I informed her were being undertaken and she had the details i couldn’t do anymore just wait. Almost 2 weeks after the offer the offer was accepted my lender called and said they were not going to lend due to information about the property. Confused I called the agent who then said sheepishly they had instructions from the vendor that they were not legally allowed to tell buyers it was a repo ( Mortgagee in Possession ) .. I thought this was BS so I called my solicitor who also confirmed he had a call from the agents claiming the same thing which he had never heard of.
    At this point I felt I was being duped so found the HOA site & Proprty Eye online magazine and discovered such nefarious tactics are un lawful according to the CPR’s 2008. I challenged the estate agents on this law breaking and informed them I would be going to the ombudsman and Trading Standards arm that deals with property, they sheepishly called me late Friday afternoon but have not addressed the topic. While in the background my mortgage and searches were almost done. Suddenly magically a higher offer came in out of the blue which I was suspicious of so I asked for evidence that the 3rd party existed but was told the vendor wouldn’t release that to them… I pushed back and insisted and have this all in writing… finally a week later I’m told its with the other agent and details were up online …they were not it was another few days before the other agents site showed an competing offer…

    I am now at a point where my purchase is lost due to the lies and deceit of the agent and the delay they caused by lying if it had not happened wouldn’t have set me back 3 weeks and contracts would have been exchanged.

    Where do I stand now ? I am about to email the agent giving them notice of the complaint and a right to reply before going to the ombudsman… Is this the right move ? I know the law has been broken and want redress of the situation.

    thanks in advance


  32. emma crannyemma cranny

    Hi at the start of 2020 i bid on a property via an estate agent being sold under modern auction and was successful – the process stalled due to the virus and since nothing has happened as the buyer has been unable to get a right to assign from the freeholders of the block. I am being told that if I back out I will still lose my deposit fees of over 6k – surley this isn’t right as it has been over 6 months and the issue is not at my end? Any advice would be very welcome – the agents/online auction agent & seller basically are unable to actually sell the property as it stands!?

  33. Kimberley TownendKimberley Townend

    I live next to an apartment block which is maintained by a property management company. They have trees which are close to my fence and the branches are overhanging and causing structural damage to my fence. I have gone to the management company and addressed my concerns but they say they are not obliged to do anything about it. They state we can cut back or hire a tree surgeon, but they would not be responsible for the cost. The trees are over 20 foot high and there are four of them, all protected. Where do I stand? Would I be able to complain to the property ombudsman, even if I’m not a consumer? The branches are currently overhanging and touching our roof, as well as taking up around 8 foot of our garden and the shrubbery is causing our fence to bow. We have spoken to the local council and they have stated that they cannot intervene as it is a civil matter.

  34. James CairnsJames Cairns

    *The first few appointments at dw homes were fine the girls seemed lovely and welcoming, everything seemed a straight forward process and all was well explained to us. So when we agreed to go ahead with the house we had to get the mortgage passed etc, however dw homes agreed to take the house off the market for us to give us chance to sort everything out, surveys, mortgage etc. However first red flag they never took the house of the market for us and when we questioned this they didn’t respond. They then recommended us to a mortgage adviser for us to use so we thought we would give this ago as thought the process would be dealt with faster, however we were so wrong, after over 2 weeks of them having the responsibility of sorting the mortgage out and getting back to us with a statement we never heard back until the day before the house price was due to go up by £4000, when we contacted them to see if the mortgage had been sorted as due to the circumstances time was important as didn’t want to be paying an extra £4000 for something which was out of our control. So we then contacted dw homes to see if they could hold the price as there was nothing we could do and not our fault they took as long as they did, the girl on the phone (Rebecca) said she would ask the sales manager and get back to us (which she never did), so we contacted the mortgage advisor and they simply replied with ‘sorry we are busy and don’t have time’ so we were taken aback by this, and was questioning if they have colluded together to try and make us pay the extra £4000. So miraculously on the Tuesday morning the prices went up by £4000 the mortgage company finalised our mortgage and sent us over a statement for £406,000, when we only asked for £401,995 how could this have happened? Dw homes denied the fact there has been any collusion going on, however we were lead to believe different as why did the mortgage statement state the higher price when we requested for £401,995? There is definitely something dodgy going on here, so straight away we called up dw homes stating we had been accepted for the mortgage to which the girl (Rebecca) stated the price was now £406,000, we questioned this and she said she would re ask the sales manager and call us back, which she never did, again! So we called her back 2 hours later after hearing nothing and asked if she had gotten in touch with the sales manager to discuss the price to which she replied with ‘sorry I haven’t asked him yet but unfortunately the house has sold in the mean time’ in 2 hours, really? As we weren’t happy about this we decided to go to Dw homes and speak with them, to which the girl on the desk (Rebecca) was very patronising and rude, The government that day had announced to stop stamp duty and Rebecca replied You are saving £10000,00 on stamp duty so you will be able to pay the extra £4000 I replied that’s nothing to do with the house pricing. We questioned the fact that they sold the house in the meantime as the others offered to pay the extra £4000, gazumping us, we thought this was illegal? and she replied with ‘well yes its on the market is a business’, poor customer service, forever changing their terms and conditions to suit them! There is definitely something dodgy going on with DW homes! Don’t want any recompense just wouldn’t like anyone else to go through what my family endured


    we purchased a new Barratt home 3years ago buying the freehold at the same time. on the covenant it states no caravans, Satellite dishes etc., we have a motor home which has been parked in front of our property. then back in February we have a letter from Barratts telling us we have to remove as soon as possible as it contravenes our lease. we are Freehold. they reply from my email saying its the same for freehold. but with no reason. Who decides this is it the land owner and builder? how do we stand legally as we have been trying to find somewhere to store it with not a lot of luck. could you advise please. many thanks.

  36. Helen OffordHelen Offord

    . I write about the restrictive covenant on the Lease Title EX531675, which requires a Certificate of Compliance. The solicitor acting for the management company are holding back giving the consent to our solicitor taking over 2 months to provide the final confirmation of Acceptance. When I spoke with the solicitors secretary she said we are not their priority and keeps delaying the email reply. it has now come that we may lose our property purchase due to the outstanding delay. There seems to be bad feeling from them to ENACT who are dealing with our mortgage through The Mortgage Works. If they do not get the final certificate the purchase cannot go through. I think the solicitor Tolhurst Fisher who is acting on behalf of Estates and Management are being completely unreasonable in getting the final document back . All fees were paid on 18/5/20. ENACT are only waiting for the acceptance email and the invoice to pay them for the service. We fell like the piggy in the middle because Tolhurst Fisher have dissatisfaction with ENACT. Can you help please?

  37. Nanikie menyatsoNanikie menyatso

    I bought a house with Trustgrow an agent who sell new development houses in 2017. At the moment I extended the house. Well the extended part of it is way good than the initial part that I pay the bond for. The selling is falling. The wall is cracking. Nothing was done properly and after I was given a house it was leaching. I called them and all they did was to fix the ceiling with a paint.

  38. CallumCallum

    In the process of buying a house which has gone over 5 months now for an unoccupied no chain case. Been waiting 2 months for a new solar panel lease. My solicitor is very responsive and is trying to push things the other side. Can i complain about the other side as my solicitor doesnt seem to be problem or is it just a long waiting game?

  39. AnneAnne

    We bought a bungalow and moved at the end of October but have now found some discrepancies with the agents brochure details. The property has had an extensive refurbishment and the brochure states New UPVC Windows throughout but the only upvc ones are 2 bay windows at the front the others are old painted aluminium ones. We have contacted the agent as their brochure was misleading and they refuse to do anything saying when they valued the property they looked new. I asked if they’d seen the sellers fensa report but they will not reply to this but have said we can’t go back to the seller and they are not responsible for what they print in their brochure but the seller agreed with their details. We are now left with old Windows and don’t know our legal position

  40. Claire MacLeodClaire MacLeod

    Hi, As a landlord of a single property I have a serious complaint against a national online estate and letting agency who vetted and approved tenants who went on to stop paying rent by the third month of tenancy. I asked the agency to conduct an inspection of the property and they claimed they couldn’t because the tenants weren’t responding to any communication. When the tenants eventually vacated the property owing 3 months rent (£3,600) and 6 months before the end of the agreed contract they left it in an unrentable condition with about £5K of damage. The agency denies any responsibility. I have looked at reviews of the Property Ombudsman on both Google and Trustpilot and they are consistently appalling. It appears that as the Property Ombudsman is funded by Estate Agents’ membership fees they seem to always find in the agents’ favour. I cannot afford a lawyer. Please can you advise me of my best course of action? I am, in effect, now homeless as my house is uninhabitable and I cannot afford to rent anywhere else.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Dear Claire – So sorry to hear of your experience. Do you have a landlords insurance policy that you may be able to claim off? Although you have heard bad things about the Property Ombudsman it is still probably worth looking at taking a complaint through them

  41. RobRob

    We have just got the keys to a property and have found the roof in a state of disrepair, with obvious signs the seller knew and had made some rather crude repairs. We have had 2 roofing companies have a look and both agree it needs to be replaced at a cost of between 7 and £8000.
    We have contacted our solicitor, mortgage company, surveyor and estate agent who pass us off to each other as we only had a morgage valuation survey and it’s a case of ‘buyer beware’
    We had some independent advice about the seller not disclosing the roof and if we had known it would have affected our decision to buy.
    We really do not know as to where we stand.

  42. ShirleyShirley

    We have talked to are solicitor they won’t sign it of until the vendors solicitor gives it in writing that they have searched the land registry on the property yet they have let us sign contracts we are just stuck in the middle of two solicitors.

  43. ShirleyShirley

    We put an offer in on a property on the3rd of may it was accepted we were told the Halifax have lost the deeds then they found the and lost them again we have now signed contracts so has the vendor but still haven’t been given a date to move in the house has been empty all this time we have sold are house and have been living with my daughter since July we are cash buyers now there saying there looking into the land being registered the vendor solicitor is saying are solicitor won’t sing it off until they have it in writing what can we do we are so stressed out.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Dear Shirley – Sorry to hear you are having these problems. It may be a good idea to talk to your own solicitor and ask them exactly what they are waiting for and why they need it. That way, you can talk to them about what your options might be and how long this may take. Please also consider becoming a member of the HomeOwners Alliance

  44. Maria LowMaria Low

    I am I feel am being bullied into going with a Out Of Town Estate Agency, after my Local Estate Agency Sold the business. The first I heard of this sale was when I got a pre printed response on 30th September stating that Leftmove have sold out to Tiger and will now be taking over property sales and rentals. I have Both. I have a set of keys for each property which was at Leftmove, After I repeatedly asked Tiger where my keys are they are not disclosing this information, they now say that if I want out of the contract for leaving Tiger with my rental property they want 6 months fees as I have signed a contract with Leftmove, but as I have told them several times I have signed Nothing with Tiger Estates I have not been given Any Of there T & Cs or nothing, I feel that I have NO contact with Tiger as I have not signed anything. Could you give me some advice please, my biggest worry is where are my keys for both properties. Thank You Kind Regards Maria

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Maria, if you need some legal advice, please consider becoming a member so that we can set up a legal call for you.

  45. Anna BushellAnna Bushell

    Is it possible to make a complaint about the seller’s estate agent – where i believe they have misled and lied to the seller. I am the buyer in this situation and the agent was not acting for me. Thank you

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Anna, all estate agents will have an internal complaints procedure. You may have to ask them for it as not many publish their complaints procedure.

  46. C SaundersC Saunders

    I am living in South Africa,Jeffreys Bay and wonder if this is the correct Ombudsman to use for difficulties I am experiencing with the Kouga Muicipality who have not done the necessary as marked on the original Housing Plans and prevent me from improving my property, secure property walls etc. and the failure of my attorney from doing positive reprisal schemes.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hi C Saunders – No I am afraid it is for United Kingdom Properties only

  47. Lesley DoddsLesley Dodds

    We purchased a new build 2 years ago from Taylor Wimpy £390,000
    Our deadline for issues / snagging has just gone.
    However we have learnt that our next door neighbours who bought and completed at pretty much the same time (Taylor Wimpy home) bought there’s for £380,000. Same house.
    Can you advise if this is right …. seems incredibly unfair?

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Lesley, this isn’t unusual. Maybe your neighbours negotiated on the price of the property – just because a new build is advertised at x price, doesn’t mean that this is what you have to offer to pay for it, there’s often scope for negotiation. You’ll also find that properties of the same design on the same development will be advertised at different prices, for example, one property might be on a bigger plot, or have a more favourable view.

  48. Linda challinorLinda challinor

    I’m two thirds through a purchase .Have pain my conveyance money .Now the person selling to me ,has taken an offer ,from another party .This has now left me with a bill of 2.000 .She has blatantly asked to to get in a bidding war .is this legal Regards Linda Challinor

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Linda, we’re very sorry to hear this. Even after an offer has been made and accepted by the seller, it is not legally binding on either side (in England and Wales; there are different rules in Scotland). Until the exchange of contracts either party can still pull out (although the buyer might lose their holding deposit).
      1 in 10 people have experienced the seller pulling out of the deal after accepting their offer because they have received a higher offer from elsewhere. This is called “gazumping”, which is more likely if your offer is on the low side.
      If you are “gazumped” you can potentially lose hundreds or even thousands of pounds in pointless survey fees, land search fees and solicitor’s fees
      There is not much you can do about it apart from counter-gazump (putting in a higher bid than the gazumper).
      To avoid gazumping, once a seller has accepted your offer, ask them to take the property off the market, which they should do if they are serious about accepting your offer. They do not have to, but if they do this will prevent other potential buyers butting into your purchase. If they don’t, then ask why they are still marketing their property, and be careful about spending thousands of pounds on surveys, solicitors and arranging mortgages.

  49. Vicki LongmanVicki Longman

    Brilliant thank you

  50. Vicki LongmanVicki Longman


    At the time of signing the contract for the sale of our property, I specifically asked the estate agent to not market the sale of our property locally (i.e. No board outside our property, no marked cars, no as in local paper, etc) which the guy agreed to but didn’t sign anything to agree to this, they stuck to my wishes primarily but then they suddenly decided to do a leaflet drop to a few of the streets surrounding our property with an A5 colour postcard with a photo of the front of our property (door number not pixellated) informing all of our neighbours that they have “recently sold this property near you & are looking for similar properties”

    When I e-mailed the branch manager to ask him if I had agreed to this being done he just said that it is automatically done when a property goes under offer.

    Do I have grounds to complain about the breach of our privacy or is it just a case of having to put up with all of the neighbours constantly asking intrusive questions now that they know we have sold?

    Thank you for reading.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hi Vicki,
      If your agent is signed up to The Property Ombudsman (most agents are) then it states in their guidance to members about canvassing that “In your canvassing material, if you seek to use a property you
      have recently sold and where completion has occurred, you
      must obtain the new owner’s prior permission in writing”
      So you would have grounds to lodge a formal complaint to them if you didn’t give permission in writing.
      Please see this link to their guidance

  51. Michael ClarkMichael Clark

    Please can you help. I purchased a small buy to let property in October 2018. Via a letting agent, I let the property a month later. They took care of references etc. I heard no negative remarks. I took out a well advertised insurers landlord insurance policy with rent guarantee. Three months in, the tenant stopped paying rent after ‘ad-hoc rent payments’. I am going down the s21/order route, but I cant claim rent guarantee from the insurer as the agent refuses to pass them the references because of ‘GDPR. Can you help? I am now thousands out of pocket.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Michael – This does seem unusual. Please consider making a formal complaint to the Estate Agent asking them to show why this is the case and then onto the Insurer. If neither of these prove to be satisfactory then look at making a complaint to the Financial conduct authority.

  52. Lynn RobertsonLynn Robertson

    Hi there
    I wish to raise a dispute against the management company looking after my flat but I cannot see which scheme they are listed with. Can you point me in the right direction? Their details are Northleach Property Management Ltd, 252a High Street, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1PG. I understand that I can go to trading standards if they are not listed anywhere,
    Many thanks.

  53. Nadine PedleyNadine Pedley

    Have put in an offer for a flat, have now been told a higher offer has been received but that the agent has to approach the solicitor for the vendor (a probate sale) to put my offer to them. Why would they bother wasting my time and theirs if they have already had a higher offer?

    • Marianne ColeMarianne Cole

      All offers have to be put to the vendors and it could be that they may wish to proceed with yours as you may be in a better position than the person with the higher offer.

  54. Catherine B DickinsonCatherine B Dickinson

    The estate agent Steven Williams, (Brighton) who handles letting the property next to mine, has a history of not responding to phone calls, emails or text messages, it also seems that he is a one man outfit and no longer has an office or landline.
    The owner of the property (Celia Burrows) spends a lot of time out of the country and as long as the rent is paid shows no concern, and there is no way of contacting her except via Steven Williams.
    The wet-room from nextdoor is leaking into my property at the moment, for the third time in six years, and this happened at least once to the previous owners, they had to have the ceiling replaced as did I and the lights replaced in 2016 on my insurance as neither Mrs.Burrows nor Steven Williams responded to any approach from my insurance company
    I do not know what to do, it is 17 days since this was reported this time and it is more than likely that the ceiling will collapse.

    • Chandni SahniChandni Sahni

      There are legal remedies if your property is being damaged due to the neglect of a neighbour. They have a duty of care towards their neighbours. If the water dripping into your property is causing damage and is directly related to action or non-action of your neighbour, you have a right to act.You could contact your local council Environmental Health Dept or Building Control Department. If the adjoining flat is in a defective state and causes a nuisance, the council can serve what is known as an abatement notice stating that the local authority intends to remedy the defects and have them serve notice on your neighbour to have his defects repaired

  55. Mohammed z HassanMohammed z Hassan

    The agent made a deal to sell me a property to move in on 18th Jan since then i found out that the people selling dont own it and my lawyer suggested whats below. “The sellers of the property (Portobello Apartments Limited) do not currently have Title to the Property. The Property currently stands in the names of Dunedin Canmore Housing Limited. The current owners have suggested they will take a Title from Dunedin Canmore Housing Limited and then grant a Title in favour of you. That is not acceptable, because in terms of the loan documentation the Seller has to have owned and have had Title to the Property for at least 6 months prior to them granting a Title in your favour.” Problem is i cannot get any answer if they do this and quick as my move in date is passed and am about to become homeless as can go to property im buying. What shal i do

    • Chandni SahniChandni Sahni

      Hello Mohammed, sorry to hear about your situation. I would follow the advice of your solicitor and if you are concerned about your housing situation perhaps look into a short term let until you have a better idea of where you stand. If you were to become a member, we’d be happy to help you with your situation as we can provide you with access to our Home Helpline where you can speak to someone in more detail

  56. Thomas bryanThomas bryan

    Hi. Me and my wife got new house on a fixe price.
    Then me and my wife put our house if for sale with the same estate agent.
    The estate agent told us we be really luck to get a price of over £300000.
    So I change is 0.85% for anything under £300000 and 20% for any sale over the price of £300000. We got offer of £326500.
    So now the estate agent charging us £10000 ot sale other house.
    Can estate agent charge this.

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Thomas, check the detail of the contract you have with the estate agent. It should clearly set out what fees and commission will be charged.

  57. janis Dobrinjanis Dobrin

    Please, could you advise me how long my property has to be withdrawn from Rightmove before it can be recently added as a new listing?
    The realestate agent says 6 months yet the homeowners alliance states 14 weeks.

    I would like something definitive to show my agent.

    Regrds Janis

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Janis, the answer depends on whether you are changing agents or not. If you’re moving to a new agent that hasn’t listed the property before, it will show as a new listing straight away. If you want something definitive to show your agent, you could contact RightMove customer services and get the answer direct from them – your agent can’t quibble then!

  58. Jaqui HillJaqui Hill

    I bought a house that had been for sale for over a year until the vendors decided to take it off the market and stay put – tired of viewings that got no further than the front door. They had a contract with an estate agent well-known to be ‘dodgy’ . Their initial contract with him was for 60 days, which he altered by hand to 20 weeks. However they waited for 18 months before deciding to give up, and so ended the contract.
    I happened to be chatting to a mutal friend about downsizing and she suggested I approach the owners of the property to see if they would consider a private sale. To cut a long story short, the purchase went through – 5 months after the cancellation of the contract with the estate agent. He is now claiming commission even though neither he nor anyone in his employ showed me the property. Is this legal ? I have advised my vendors to take the matter further as this estate agent is well known in West Oxfordshire to be a bully and erring on the side of dishonesty and sharp practice!!

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Jaqui, the devil is in the detail on this one and to be able to advise we’d need to see the contract the owners had with the agent and clarify with the owners how they went about terminating the agreement. If they had a sole selling rights agreement with the agent then they may well be liable to pay commission. Perhaps you could tell the owners about us – one of the benefits of membership of the HOA is that we will take a look at estate agent contracts and provide advice.

  59. Amanda PegdenAmanda Pegden

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    My husband and I bought an old cottage in April 2017. Before purchase we asked for a comprehensive structural survey from a firm with RICS registration. We asked their advice about which survey to perform and followed it.
    The survey did not reveal any significant problems. We bought the property and started to notice problems with damp in August, The surveyor we employed was a “Damp specialist”. The problem became so bad we needed to have extensive re-pointing done costing around £6000. We have gone back to our surveyor and them via a solicitor to no avail. Who can we complain to?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Amanda, you can read our article on this subject here.

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