We saw rapid growth in our membership in 2020, and perhaps it is unsurprising that we also saw an increase in the number of complaints. Compared to 2019, the number of complaints increased by 27%.
The complaint ratio (number of complaints in comparison to the number of members) in 2020 was 9.66%, which was lower than in 2019, 11.99%. This shows that although we received more complaints in 2020 than in 2019, it was due to the increase in the number of members rather than, on average, members having more complaints against them.
Average time taken to resolve complaints
This vast increase in the number of complaints would usually result in stretched resources and slower decisions. However, because we have been focusing on early resolution, we have actually reduced the average time it takes to resolve a complaint, compared to 2019.
According to Which’s report Are Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes working for consumers?, The Property Redress is one of the best performing alternative dispute resolution schemes for consumers in terms of time taken to resolve disputes. Only one comparable scheme (out of 17) across numerous industries resolve disputes quicker than the Property Redress Scheme.
With early resolution, our sole focus is to understand the root cause of the complaint and talk, listen and negotiate with both sides. We’ve introduced the early resolution step for every complaint, which allows all parties the chance to settle before needing a formal written decision.
We take time to understand the position, assess the relevant evidence and with our industry knowledge, engage both sides to facilitate a positive outcome for everyone. This greatly reduces resolution times and on average only takes 21 days to reach a resolution, which is, on average, 14 days less than the time it takes for a formal written decision to be made.
This year we awarded over £453,000 in compensation, and the average award was £2,696.31.
In lettings, the top reason for complaints revolved around in-house complaint handling. The next highest was rent and joint third highest was general communication and fees and charges.
The top reason for complaints in sales was misleading or incorrect information.
In residential leasehold management, maintenance issues were the most common causes of complaints.
In 2021, we want to help our members through continuing to promote our early resolution service and helping them to reduce the number of complaints they receive themselves. We believe the best way for them to do this is to talk, and to talk to the experts.
Award bandings (all decisions)
Average award: £2,696.31
As you can see the majority of our awards were under £1,000. No awards were over £20,000. The highest award we made was £19,000 and we awarded over £453,000 in total.
*awards made between 1 Dec 19 and 30 Nov 20, the complaint may have been started prior to these dates
Average complaint handling time (complaint to closure)
Average complaint time: 35 days
On average we were able to resolve lettings and residential leasehold management complaints (35 days) quicker than sales (37 days) complaints. The average time taken to resolve a complaint was 35 days.
Complaints - Lettings
Most common lettings complaints
The most common forms of letting complaints were other miscellaneous issues (including duty of care, inspections etc.). The most common issues involved in-house complaint handling.
Lettings complaints make up the vast majority of our complaints, accounting for 79.63% of accepted complaints in 2020. This is up slightly from 77.89% in 2019.
Complaints - Sales
Most common sales complaints
We received far fewer sales complaints compared to lettings complaints. The most common types of sales complaints were misleading/incorrect information and other, including charges and commission.
Sales complaints accounted for 9.91% of accepted complaints in 2020. This is down significantly compared to 2019 when it was 14.54%.
Complaints - Residential Letting Management
Most common RLM complaints
We received far fewer residential lettings management complaints compared to sales and lettings. The most common forms of letting complaints were other miscellaneous issues and maintenance issues.
RLM complaints accounted for 10.47% of accepted complaints in 2020, which is up from 7.57% in 2019.