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Estate & Managing Agents - Complaints Procedure

How to Complain

A Complaints Form and Guidelines should be obtained online or from the Ombudsman's Office. The Ombudsman can advise on how to complain:

  • The Complainant submits a case to the Ombudsman's Office

  • The Complaints Form includes a 'Waiver of Confidentiality' section. This allows the Ombudsman's office to gather information about the buying/selling transaction, and to use it in their investigation of the complaint. The information is not used more widely without the complainant's permission, unless required by law.

What Happens Next?

  • The Ombudsman determines whether he can decide the complaint

  • The signed Complaints Form is sent to the Member Agency - which has three weeks to send the file(s) to the Ombudsman's Office for examination, accompanied by a covering letter explaining how they have dealt with the dispute and presenting their side of the case

  • When the files are received, the Case is investigated by a Case Officer and then reviewed by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can decide the procedure to be adopted by him in considering complaints. This could include conciliation, mediation or a full case review

Decisions and Outcomes

  • The Ombudsman expects to reach his conclusion on most cases within two to three months of the signature of the Complaints Form

  • If the Ombudsman finds in favour of the complainant, the case review is sent first to the Member Agency for their comment. Where the Ombudsman does not support the complaints made, the case review is sent first to the complainant for his/her comment

The Ombudsman can direct:

  • That the Member takes, or desists from taking, such steps as he may specify. And/or

  • That the named Member pays the Complainant an award (not exceeding 25,000) by way of compensation for the loss, expense or inconvenience caused by the act or omission of the subject matter of the complaint

If an award is made, the complainant can:

  • Accept the award within 28 days in full and final settlement. The firm must then pay the award within 28 days of the Ombudsman having notified them that the award has been accepted

  • Reject the award and take the matter to court

  • Fail to accept the award within 28 days, in which case the award lapses