A recent Freedom of Information request to the PSRA revealed that less than 1% all complaints made against estate agents, valuers and surveyors over a 3.5 year period resulted in findings being made against property service providers (PSP's) despite there being close on 1000 complaints made to the regulator.
Which is hard to believe, but the numbers (3 April 2012 to 2 December 2015) don't lie.
There are 5630 PSP's on the Register of Licensed Property Service Providers in Ireland.
- Total complaints = 957
- Ongoing Complaints = 562 or 59% , 430 of which are at initial inspection phase and 132 at inspection phase
- Only 395 complaints have concluded or 41%, pointing to a staff under-resourcing
- Of the 395 concluded complaints:
- 351 or 89% were declined or deemed frivolous or vexatious - which underlines the confusion of the jurisidction of the PSRA amongst the public
- 4 outside the remit of PSRA
- 13 settled between parties
- 27 withdrawn by complainant
- only 12 cases referred to Appeal Board of which there have only been 6 finding so far:
- 2 findings of improper conduct
- 3 findings of no improper conduct
- 1 referral to High Court re major sanction
That only 3 complaints out of 957 has been upheld is very poor. That means that a complaint against an estate agent or other property service provide has a 1 in 330 chance of being successful!
Nature of the Complaints
The natures of the complaints are varied and often complaints are made under a number of headings:-
2012 – In 2012 a total of 116 complaints were made. The top three categories of complaints were:-
- Retention of money by the PSP (26)
- Service Provision (24)
- Unlicensed Operation (14)
2013 – In 2013 there was a total of 442 complaints. The top three categories were:-
- Unlicensed Operation (126)
- Service Provision (58)
- Retention of Money (52)
2014 – In 2014 there was a total of 504 complaints made. The top three categories were:-
- Service Provision (113)
- Retention of money by PSP (97)
- Unlicensed Operation (69)
2015 – Up to 2 December 2015 – 400 complaints. Top three categories:-
- Service Provision (115)
- Retention of Money (65)
- Unlicensed Operation (60)
There is a Property Services Compensation Fund valued at €2,196,841 o yet no compensation awarded from the fund. It's certainly time for the PSRA to crank it up a notch if public faith in its role is to survive.