The Property Ombusdman & TDS (The Tenancy Deposit Scheme)
The Property Ombusdman
The Property Ombudsman came into being on 1 May 2009. Formerly, the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA), the name change was made to reflect the broader jurisdiction in relation to Complaints we are now able to deal with, e.g. Sales, lettings, commercial and overseas.
The Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) Scheme was established on 1 January 1998. The Scheme is open to all those firms of estate agents with a principal, director or partner who is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS); to all corporate estate agents, defined as those who are subsidiaries of a bank, building society or insurance company, or are themselves quoted on the Stock Exchange and to other estate agents who are sponsored and seconded by existing member agents. From June 2006, the OEA extended its services to Lettings and Property Management agents.
By dealing with a Member of the TPO, the public may be confident about the agent's approach in its dealings with actual and potential buyers and sellers of residential property or lettings in the UK.
With effect from 1 October 2008, all estate agents are required to register with an Estate Agents Redress Scheme that has been approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and which investigates complaints against estate agents. The TPO is one of the schemes approved by the OFT.
Many estate agents have in addition agreed to follow the TPO Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents. Estate agents signing up to this Code of Practice are required to provide additional consumer protection that goes beyond that required by the law. They can be recognised by the blue TPO logo. Registered agents, who do not voluntarily accept the Code of Practice obligations of the TPO Scheme, are not entitled to show the blue TPO logo.
Lettings and property management agents who join the TPO also subscribe to the Code of Practice for Letting Agents.
The Property Ombudsman provides a free, fair and independent service for dealing with unresolved disputes between sales and letting agents who have joined the TPO and consumers who are actual or potential buyers or sellers or landlords or tenants of residential property in the UK. The Ombudsman is a member of the British and Irish Ombudsman Association and follows the standards and rules of the Association. The Ombudsman is totally independent of agents and reports directly to the TPO Council which has a majority of non-industry members.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is operated by The Dispute Service Limited, a not for profit company authorised by the government to run an insurance based tenancy deposit protection, as set out in the Housing Act 2004.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is a multi-award winning organisation, named Tenancy Dispute Service of the Year 2012 by PropertyDrum, awarded the Government Standard for Customer Service Excellence, and was a finalist in the Customer Service category at the Landlord and Lettings Awards 2013.
TDS is the only not for profit provider of tenancy deposit protection and we plough any surpluses we make back into the business for the benefit of our members and those using our service.
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