Problems with property companies

publication date: Dec 19, 2018
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

What to do if you have problems with a property company


There are recognised procedures for dealing with problems with any company. This is the general format:

Talk to someone

Before escalating a complaint, always try talking to somebody at the company first as you may be able to resolve the issue informally. Make it clear what you would like them to do to put things right. Make a note of who you spoke to, the date and time, and the details of the conversation. And email a summary of the conversation, including a request for a ‘read receipt’ and ‘delivery’ or send a letter recorded delivery as it’s important to have written evidence should the complaint be escalated further. 

Ask for the company’s complaints procedure

If your issue cannot be resolved informally, ask for the company’s complaints procedure. It is important you follow this procedure, in case you need to escalate your complaint to the relevant redress scheme. Some companies have to have this by law, others are not regulated, but if they belong to an association/organisation, eg the NAEA, they may have to have a complaints procedure as a condition of membership.

Read our quick guide to property problems

Gather evidence

Check what guarantees you have and if they are still valid. Make a note of your original agreement, how much you paid, what in particular you are unhappy with and how you’d like the problem to be resolved. Make sure you keep anything which may help you, such as records of phone calls, visits, along with any correspondence you send and receive, and photos if relevant.

Write to the company

Put down your issues in writing, outlining the details of your early conversation, including who you spoke to, the date and time and what was said. Reiterate what you would like them to do to resolve the problem.

Follow the steps outlined in the complaints procedure

This may involve writing to head office. It should also tell you how long you can expect to wait for your complaint to be handled. Most complaint procedures will make it clear who to send the complaint to. Always keep a copy.

Contact the relevant redress scheme or trade body

If your problem is still not resolved, you may then contact the relevant redress scheme, trade body or regulator to which the company belongs. There is no point in doing this without following the company’s standard complaints procedure as, until you have taken the necessary steps, these next steps will not be able to help you.

See our guide to trade organisations for property companies

Consider legal action

If the organisation is not a member of a trade body or redress scheme, you could consider legal action. Many solicitors will provide you with a short free advice session, so make sure you have all your information to hand before you attend. You can also consider the Small Claims Court for claims up to £10,000.

If you are having a problem with a property company, please get in touch with us and we will do our best to help.

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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