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Disputes under the Property Redress Scheme increased in 2018

There was a 103% rise in final decisions on consumer complaints to the Property Redress Scheme in 2018 and an 82% rise in proposed decisions, the latest figures show.

The total compensation awarded to consumers by the PRS was just under £300,000 with average award £1,102.83, according to the data published in its annual report covering 2018.

It also shows that membership of the PRS has continued to grow at a rapid rate with a further 37% increase in members in 2018. The current membership of the PRS is now close to 11,000 offices.

The report details an increase in types of complaints such as fees and charges, general communication, poor service and complaint handling, as well as rent collection as part of the wider increase in disputes received.

‘2018 was a fundamental year for the Property Redress Scheme, and this was mirrored in the wider sector, as further developments in the Government’s project to reform the housing market started to take shape,’ said Sean Hooker, Property Redress Scheme head of redress.

The main purpose of the PRS is to settle or resolve complaints made by consumers where the Members’ internal complaints procedure has been exhausted and with change in the industry, the PRS offers the stability desired by many within the sector.

It also offers an easy to access online members’ area to help agents manage complaints, as the scheme prides itself on being there for consumer and complainants as it seeks to continue to raise professionalism and standards within the industry.

‘In this industry, the pace and scale of change has been unprecedented. The number of reforms and level of legislative activity has not been seen in the private rental sector since the 1988 Housing Act. By the time the changes are completed, over the next few years, we will have seen as great an impact, as the then ground breaking law over 30 years ago. It is also true that all other parts of the property sector are now under scrutiny, sales, leasehold and new build properties,’ said Lord Monroe Palmer, chairman of the PRS Advisory Council.

‘This said, the changes that are being made are probably overdue. Introducing better protection of consumers, who are ultimately customers of us all, is part of a healthy and vibrant market. We are also living in a world of innovation and technology that is impacting our lives, mostly positive but sometimes unpredictably, and with unforeseen detriment. The law is, therefore, struggling to catch up,’ he added.