Estate agent ombudsman enlists Foxtons

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Christopher Hamer, the new Ombudsman for Estate Agents, is claiming an important victory after two months in the job by signing up London firm Foxtons to the voluntary scheme.

When he took up his post in December, Hamer said one of his aims was to persuade the remaining third of residential firms that were not members to join the scheme.

When Foxtons joined last week, founder Jon Hunt said the code of practice was ‘the most appropriate redress scheme for the residential property industry’.

Foxtons joins as the government prepares to push through its consumer bill with the aim of clamping down on rogue agents, partly through mandatory membership of an ombudsman scheme one of the key demands of Property Week’s successful Regulate Resi Now campaign last year.

The Ombudsman for Estate Agents is privately run and membership is voluntary, but the organisation is positioning itself to become the main ombudsman scheme once the bill becomes law. It can recommend compensation for consumers who get poor service from a member agent. The scheme covers 60% of the UK’s 12,000 residential agents.

Hamer said: ‘With an increasing number of residential estate agents joining the scheme, there really is no reason any longer for the public to use non-members. There are usually several members on every high street working under our code of practice. It is endorsed by the Office of Fair Trading and ensures agents operate to the highest professional standards.’

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