Revealed – London worst region for property sector …

Authorized by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team (NTSEALT), the Property Redress Scheme (PRS) is considered a consumer redress scheme which provides redress for estate letting and property management agents.

As an impartial body, the PRS addresses consumer complaints about a variety of property-related issues made against these industry professionals. Therefore, when its members fail to consider the issues raised against them and also fail to clear the fines issued as a result, the Property Redress Scheme can take further action and expel them from the scheme.

Offenders recorded by the PRS

The figures from the PRS depict the total number of expulsions, and this negative industry trend peaked in 2018 with no less than 66 members expelled from the scheme in a single year, up 313% from the previous year.

Fortunately, since then this number has been on a steady decline. In 2021 there were 45 expelled members which was a -32% reduction from the 2018 peak. Thus far 20 members have faced expulsion in 2022 for failing to address anti-consumer practices.

When it comes to shining a light on the worst offending regions, London is home to the highest level of expelled PRS members. Since 2016, the capital has accounted for 49% of all expelled members to date, further climbing to 50% when looking at 2021 alone.

The North West has seen the second-largest level of members expelled from the PRS since 2016, accounting for 14% of the total figure, with the South East ranking third with 9%.

Northern Ireland has seen some of the lowest levels of expelled members since 2016, accounting for just 0.4% of the overall total and only 2% in 2021.

The regions which saw no members facing expulsion last year were Scotland, Wales and the South West, which also rank amongst the lowest since 2016, alongside Yorkshire and the Humber.

Sean Hooker, head of redress at the Property Redress Scheme, commented: “The Property Redress Scheme plays a vital role in upholding industry standards and ensuring the consumer is provided with the service and professionalism they deserve in a sector that is otherwise largely unregulated.”

“Unfortunately, we continue to see a number of members failing to comply with our decisions, usually due to them not paying a compensation award, however, it could also be down to poor practices such as a violation of consumer rights, not fulfilling their contractual obligations or failing to operate within the codes of practice, and this is simply not acceptable in this day and age. ”

“The Scheme has the power to expel members who do not play ball but also to report agents who breach their legal obligations to National Trading Standards, who can take enforcement action as and when necessary. Expelled members are likely to also end up being named and shamed in the media. ”

Hooker concluded: “The good news is that the number of members facing expulsion has been in decline for some years now, however, there are certainly some regions that rank above the rest when it comes to the worst offending. It’s our mission to raise industry standards and to level the playing field for consumers across the nation and while we’re heading in the right direction, we won’t rest until this is fully achieved. “

Table shows the number and annual change of expelled PRS members by year

Year

Expelled members

Annual change%

2016

25

2017

16

-36.0%

2018

66

312.5%

2019

63

-4.5%

2020

46

-27.0%

2021

45

-2.2%

2022 (to May 13th)

20

-55.6%

Table shows the percentage of expelled members in 2021 by region

Location

2021

Londoner

49%

East Midlands

9%

East of England

9%

South East

9%

North West

7%

West Midlands

7%

North East

4%

Yorkshire and the Humber

4%

Northern Ireland

2%

South West

0%

Wales

0%

Scotland

0%

Table shows the percentage of expelled members by region between 2016 and 2022 (to date)

Location

2016 to 2022 (latest)

Londoner

50%

North West

14%

South East

9%

East Midlands

6%

East of England

6%

West Midlands

6%

North East

3%

Wales

2%

South West

1%

Yorkshire and the Humber

1%

Scotland

1%

Northern Ireland

0.4%

You can view the full annual PRS Report here.

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