NALS strikes ground-breaking deal with ombudsman service

Ombudsman Services, which provides a redress service for RICS members’ clients, has done a deal with NALS.

It will be offering NALS agents, particularly those confident of having no complaints lodged against them, rates far cheaper than the Property Ombudsman.

TPO currently charges £228 per year per branch including VAT.

Ombudsman Services will also be offering NALS members two options. They can pay £15 per year plus VAT to join. If there are complaints made against them which go to arbitration, the cost will be £125, £200 or £260, all plus VAT, depending on the complexity of the complaint, which would be decided by the ombudsman.

Alternatively, NALS agents can pay a flat annual fee of £120 plus VAT, and nothing more should a case be examined.

Chief ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “For more and more people who are looking for a home, renting is the only realistic option. These people deserve high-quality standards and the assurance that if things go wrong the ombudsman is there to help.

“With this in mind we are delighted to offer NALS firms access to our services at a very cost-effective rate.

“NALS is an independent licensing scheme working to raise standards in the private rented sector. NALS licensed agents which join our scheme will benefit from our reputation, expertise and experience gained from handling complaints across a broad range of sectors.

“They will be making a clear statement that they are professional firms which really care about the standard of service provided.”

NALS chief executive Isobel Thomson said: “Recent reports have turned the spotlight on lettings and management agents as well as standards in the industry as a whole.

“Recognising the huge growth in the numbers now in rented accommodation, the least tenants and landlords should expect is that their agent is a member of an ombudsman scheme either Ombudsman Services Property or The Property Ombudsman Scheme.

“We are delighted to work with Ombudsman Services who have offered this cost-effective package for our firms which makes the cost of compliance even more affordable.”

Established in 2003, Ombudsman Services runs four national, private sector ombudsman schemes for the communications, energy, property and copyright licensing sectors.

As well as handling complaints for RICS members and now NALS, it also handles complaints for the Association of Residential Managing Agents.

Its property caseload is much smaller than that of TPO, resolving 464 consumer complaints last year, against TPS’s figure of 1,326 (of which 756 were lettings complaints).

From Monday, Ombudsman Services will also be providing ombudsman services for the Government’s Green Deal.

Article courtesy of LettingAgentToday

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