Estate agents should join redress scheme, says expert

16 May 2005
The ombudsman for estate agents, Stephen Carr-Smith, called at the end of last week for all estate agents to be subject to the current compulsory redress scheme.

In the Ombudsman's Annual Report 2004, Mr Carr-Smith said that the ombudsman scheme, which covers lettings, property management, surveys and valuations, as well as the buying and selling of property, needed to extend its influence.

The Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) scheme is currently voluntary, with about 1,030 members - equivalent to around 40 per cent of the estate agents in the UK.

It offers free, independent advice to people dissatisfied with an estate agent - and can order that agent to pay up to £25,000 in compensation to both buyers and sellers.

"All of us in the property services industry need to focus our attention on making independent redress available to many more consumers," Mr Carr-Smith stated.

"I have repeatedly called on the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to make OEA membership mandatory for all their members, and I believe we are close to a breakthrough."

Last week the consumer magazine Which? released research revealing that estate agents' valuations of the same property can differ by up to 63 per cent.

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