Complaints about estate agents and letting agents have leapt by 32{0a6a65c996ed4169444354e707b897cdb00dbefc1d0429e8febb9bf11027ba53} over the last year according to The Property Ombudsman’s annual report.

The Ombudsman received over 16,000 complaints from the public and resolved more than 3,300, finding against agents in eight out of ten cases.

The top three complaints about sales related to communications, marketing and instructions, whereas lettings complaints were frequently related to property management, communications and end of tenancy issues.

Katrine Sporle, Property Ombudsman, said that 83 per cent of complaints against agents were supported by the Ombudsman. “Overall, this is good news for consumers and redress, but not so great for the reputation of agents who collectively paid out over £800,000 in awards. My message for those agents is simple; pay more attention to TPO’s Codes of Practice and raise your standards.”

Online estate agent eMoov says that the level of complaints show that it is unacceptable for the estate agency sector to be unregulated.  It has launched a government petition calling for mandatory licensing of estate agents.

Complaints are up 32{0a6a65c996ed4169444354e707b897cdb00dbefc1d0429e8febb9bf11027ba53} in the last year which highlights the slap dash approach to estate agency that many agents approach their day to day duties with,” said Russell Quirk, Founder & CEO, “We urge everyone, whether they are buying, selling or renting, to help support this petition and introduce the long overdue licensing this industry is crying out for.”

James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professional Risks said: “The Ombudsman’s findings will make sobering reading for many in the property market.  All too often a complaint can be precursor to a more serious allegation of professional negligence.  Insurers will be carefully considering the risks of insuring agents and will expect to see that they have a clean claims record, good risk management and adhere to the Ombudsman’s Codes of Practice when they are deciding whether to offer cover.”

News of the Ombudsman’s annual report has been widely reported, including by: Property Industry Eye, Property Wire, Landlord News and What Mortgage