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News & opinion

7 AUG 2018

OS:P deadline passes in the UK

The deadline for regulated firms in the UK to transition away from Ombudsman Services: Property (OS:P) has now passed.

Both RICS and the statutory authorities that approve Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for activities in residential agency (both National Trading Standards and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government) no longer list OSP as an approved ADR provider for consumer-facing disputes in the UK.

Firms that continue to include OS:P as an ADR mechanism in their Complaint Handling Procedures (CHP) may be subject to regulatory action.

Commercial complaints are not affected by this transition.

February announcement

This transition was triggered by the announcement by OS:P on 6 February, 2018 that they intended to leave the property market in six months. This period has now passed.

Firms involved in residential agency (lettings, property/block management or estate agency) need to register with The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.

For all other forms of consumer-facing surveying services, firms will need to change their CHP to direct towards the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). CEDR was chosen as default ADR provider for the profession through a detailed and transparent tendering process. However, they are not approved by government for residential agency due to an ongoing review of redress in housing. As such, they are not able to provide ADR in residential agency (lettings, property/block management or estate agency) and due to this, some firms may need to use more than one scheme for consumer disputes.

Regulatory action

Any firm that does not have a CHP which includes an approved ADR mechanism, is in contravention of Rule 6 of the Rules of Conduct for Firms and may be subject to regulatory action.

Furthermore, firms involved in residential agency, but that have not transferred to either TPO or PRS may be subject to further regulatory action by National Trading Standards and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.

An updated list of approved ADR mechanisms in the UK and Ireland is available here.