Poor communication is leading to confusion and increased complaints in the Scottish residential property market, according to the RICS’s ombudsman north of the border.

In his second annual report, ombudsman Ian Smith warned that the involvement of intermediaries, including legal and financial advisers, has led to a breakdown in communication between surveyors and their clients.

Complaints to the ombudsman have more than doubled to 112 over the past year as awareness of the Surveyor Ombudsman Scheme has grown. Most referred to residential surveys and valuations.

But Smith pointed out that more than 130,000 homes are sold annually in Scotland, and he praised the overall high standard of professionalism of surveyors. ‘Where rare lapses occur, they damage the reputation of the firms assessed and the profession as a whole, but I have found no systemic failures,’ he said.

The report follows confirmation last week that the government is to introduce tougher redress against rogue estate agents (news, 17.11.06).