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The Property Ombudsman issues revised Codes of Practice

Monday, October 5, 2015

On 1 October 2015, the Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme issued amended and updated versions of all its Codes of Practice for UK and Scotland in order to support the introduction of new legislation that has come into force within the last 12 months.

Some of the main changes in the Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents include:

  • Ensuring a full list of fees, redress scheme membership and client money protection status is displayed on the letting agent's website and in each store where they meet clients face to face;
  • Ensuring compliance with the new smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations;
  • Advising clients on any Legionella risks; and
  • Clarifying who will be responsible for Right to Rent immigration checks.

Commenting on the latest Codes of Practice, Christopher Hamer, the Property Ombudsman said:

The decision was taken to carry out a full review of the Codes to reflect continuing market developments and the obligations now placed on agents by various pieces of legislation that have been enacted, such as the Consumer Rights Act. Changes under the Deregulation Act which start today (1 October) have also been integrated into the new set of Codes, providing comprehensive guidance to our member agents on the new regime.

The first Code of Practice was enforced in 1990, albeit in a rather shorter form than today. During that 25 year period, the property industry has developed tremendously and continues to change today making it necessary to release new versions to ensure agents fully understand their responsibilities.

As the market changes, we continue to provide as much up to date information as possible through our guidance documents and website to support both members and consumers.

The Ombudsman will apply the new Codes of Practice when reviewing consumer complaints about events that have occurred after 1 October to determine whether or not a TPO registered member has breached the high level of standards required.

Landlords and tenants can check if a letting agent is a member of TPO by visiting www.tpos.co.uk/find-a-member.

All letting agents must belong to one of three government approved redress schemes. The other two schemes are operated by The Property Redress Scheme and Ombudsman Services: Property.

To view the the TPO Codes of Practice visit www.tpos.co.uk/members/codes-guidance.

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