Ombudsman reveals 86% surge in lettings disputes

Lettings are expected to dominate the Ombudsman for Estate Agents’ agenda in 2008 following an increase in new lettings dispute cases.

In its Q1 report, its second quarterly report to date, the OEA revealed that lettings disputes increased to 69 in Q1, compared with 37 in Q4.

Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, says: “During the whole of 2007 I received 99 lettings disputes and I therefore expect this aspect of my jurisdiction to be a much more significant commitment during 2008.”

In one dispute case a landlord alleged that their lettings agent had been grossly negligent, allegedly neglecting to fix a collapsed bedroom ceiling for eight months. The OEA awarded the landlord £500, which it said reflected the fact the they had already received some compensation from the lettings agent.

The OEA’s report also revealed that sales disputes decreased to 220 in Q1, down from 227 in Q4. Overall enquiries increased just 9%, from 2734 in Q4 to 2983 in Q1, with non-member enquiries up by 67 to 808.

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