A lot has been said by estate agents. While the services of estate agents is handy when buying or selling property, these property dealers have received bad press for taking advantage of their clients through unacceptable tricks.
For a long time, estate agents get away with fabrications and misleading contracts. Thankfully, you do not have to suffer in silence as you can get in touch with the office of the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) with any complains concerning a particular estate agent.
The ombudsman is mandated to regulate estate agents as well as solve disputes that arise between estate agents and property sellers and buyers. Specifically, the role of the ombudsman is to tame those estate agents that are breaking the law when transacting with their clients. Thus, the ombudsman acts as a police over the industry providing protection to the consumer against any malpractices.
Common issues that the Ombudsman Mediates
Estate agents usually have so much power over sales transactions hence they tend to abuse this power at the expense of the client. The ombudsman presides over a number of disputes relating to estate agents and their clients. The issues include the following:
- Misleading and complicated contracts that leave clients paying so much when the agent was hardly involved in the sale of property.
- Breaches in conducting business such as failure to make confirmed offers in writing as legally required. This makes it difficult for clients to lodge complains when they want to contest the offers as there is no evidence.
- Some estate agents lie about a higher offer being rejected so that they encourage the buyer to make another offer. By this time, they would have already made their money from the initial amount in commissions.
- Non-compliance with the OEA code of practice.
Estate agents are free to join the ombudsman scheme voluntarily. Members are required to follow its rules that seek to sanitize the industry. Agents who sign up are required to live by the code of practice that the Ombudsman of Estate Agents rigorously enforces.
Clients who have an issue with an estate agent can then get in touch with the OEA that offers a free, fair as well as speedy review of complaints covered under its terms of reference.
The OEA is independent of the member agencies and will try to settle disputes coming up with agreements between their member agencies and clients. In the event that an agreement is not reached, then they will take into account various factors before making a decision that is considered fair in all circumstances.
It is important to note that your complaint will not be considered by the ombudsman until you complain to the Members Agency and have satisfactorily gone through their internal complaints procedure.
When the ombudsman makes a decision, it will be communicated to both you and the member agency that you are in dispute with before you can then decide to either reject or accept their decision.
Ultimately, for the Ombudsman of Estate Agents to assist you it is important to ensure that the estate agent you are dealing with professes membership to the OEA scheme.