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Property

How to take charge of your home removal

Moving house is considered to be a very stressful experience. Following on from the story of the last week of the couple who hired a man with a van and lost all their possessions here’s how you can prevent that happening to you.

Once you have got past the stresses of dealing with estate agents, solicitors changes in dates and all the rest of it moving day finally comes. What can you do to ensure that moving goes as smoothly as possible and what to do if even after following sensible advice it still goes wrong?

Choosing a removal firm

The National Guild of Removers and Storers ensures its members are regulated and quality checked through the Removal Industrial Services Ombudsman Scheme.

The British Association of Removers is the relevant trade organisation. It has a Trading Standards Institute Code of Practice and an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. So, should you encounter problems and your removal firm is a member then you are able to use an arbitration scheme. You may like to check their website before deciding on a removal firm to give you peace of mind.

Remember a page on Facebook means nothing. All the reviews could be written by the firm. If recommended by a friend of a friend, this still may not be good enough especially if a friend of a friend on Facebook given how so many people have “friends” on Facebook that aren’t friends and are often people with whom they have never met or spoken.

Get more than one quote especially if you insist on using a non specialist removal service. If a quote sounds cheap remember if something sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Consumer rights when using a removal firm

When you have instructed a removal firm to move your possessions from one place to another you are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. You can expect to receive services undertaken with reasonable skill and care. That means no damage and arrival at an agreed time. Should this not be the case then you have grounds to complain.

If any items get damaged you have the right to repair/replacement or sum of money covering the cost of replacement. You are also entitled to any out of pocket expenses you might incur due to damages of items or delay in timings of the removal.

Insurance when using a removal firm

Check your insurance. When moving from one place to another check that you are covered and by which company – the insurance at your old place or the new one. This may give you additional cover particularly for anything you might move yourself. The company should have its own insurance to cover any breakages.

What to do if things go wrong with a removal firm

Keep a list of everything. If you notice damage at the time of moving mention it to the staff and keep a record. Put your complaint in writing following the tips here. Outline all the damage and out of pocket expenses and what you want to put the matter right. Give a timescale for response. If not satisfied with the response you can go to the ombudsman as detailed above. You can also go to the Small Claims Court (even after using the ombudsman.)

 

Further help

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logoFor more information, guidance, tips, consumer laws, rights and template letters for complaining to most sectors about most things… GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

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How to protect yourself when using an estate agent

All you need to know when using an estate agent

estate agent signs

Buying a property when using an estate agent

False or misleading descriptions about properties are an offence under the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991. The PMA and the Order make it an offence to make false or misleading statements about ‘specified’ aspects of land (including buildings) offered for sale by those in an estate agency or property development business. This Act ensures that estate agents act in their clients’ best interests and that both buyers and sellers are treated fairly, honestly and promptly.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (amended 2014) (CPRs)
regulate estate agents and other businesses involved in property sales and lettings.

Selling a property through an estate agent

As a seller you have rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to services carried out with reasonable care and skill, but there are no legal regulations about what estate agents have to do to find you a buyer. So do your research to find the best estate agent for you depending on the services that they provide and their costs.

The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act, 2007 requires all estate agents in the UK to register with an Estate Agents Redress Scheme which can investigate complaints from members of the public. (From the 1st October 2014 all letting agents in England have also been obliged to join a scheme under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013).

If you believe that an estate agent has not been acting in your best interests, has not been contacting buyers, provides inaccurate information or is discriminating against you etc., complain first to the manager or owner of the agency. If a chain you can then write to the head office. You can of course take your business elsewhere or withhold some of the agent’s fee. If you do the latter take legal advice first – you may be sued by the estate agent so you need to be very clear on your position. You can find the contact details for the CEO of the agency/chain by using www.ceoemail.com.

If you cannot agree the fee with an estate agent for any reason, such as finding your own buyer, seek legal advice.

Consumers Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 and Estate Agents Act 1979

Anyone with a complaint about an estate agent relating to residential property now has access to a free redress scheme.

Estate agents are required to have commissioned a Home Information Pack (HIP) prior to marketing any property.

Lettings using an estate agent

Landlords and agents can choose to register with The National Approved Lettings Scheme which sets certain standards.

Under The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (parts which come into force 27th May 2015):

  • lettings agents are required to include a description of each fee which explains the service that is covered by the cost or the purpose for which it is imposed.
  • as the list of fees covers charges to both landlords and tenants this improved transparency will highlight where agents are charging both parties for the same service.
  • these requirements will prevent an agent drip feeding fees to tenants meaning consumers will be more confident about the charges they will be expected to pay when renting a property and it should also encourage more competitive letting agents’ fees. 

From 01 June 2019 The Tenancy Act came into force in England. This bans estate agents from charging tenants for looking round a property,
setting up a tenancy, such as references and checks or for checking out of a property.

Further help when using an estate agent

The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents (includes lettings) is voluntarily followed by many estate agents. Estate agents who follow the Code of Practice are required to provide additional consumer protection that goes beyond that required by law. They can be recognised by the blue TPO logo which they will display on their literature, websites and office windows.

An estate agent may be a member of an ombudsman service which you can use. Check with which ombudsman service your estate agent is a member:


The Property Ombudsman
Property Redress Scheme

Further help with complaints

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

For masses of information, tips, guidance, laws and regulations and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

How to prevent & complain about property related issues  various blog posts related to removals, home improvement and estate agents

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