A buyer purchasing a property next door to a pub withdrew after discovering that it had applied for an extension to its licensing hours.
The agent had made the buyer aware of the pub, and the pub’s application to extend its opening hours to midnight on Friday and Saturday nights was unsuccessful.
The buyer withdrew because of the prospect of future applications to extend opening hours.
The agent said they were not aware of the failed application.
The case went to arbitration at the Property Redress Scheme, which held that the agent had failed to provide the buyer with the information he needed to make a fully informed decision.
The ruling said that the agent should have undertaken reasonable checks, and that there had been a lack of due diligence.
However, the buyer had provided no evidence to show material loss, and a small compensation of £100 was awarded to the buyer.
The case is highlighted in the PRS annual report for last year and emphasises the importance of Consumer Protection Regulations.
The report shows a 33% increase in membership over the year before and a 40% rise in formal complaint notifications.
At the end of 2016, a total of 5,259 agent offices (31% sales, 79% lettings) had joined the PRS, with a further 227 property professionals such as inventory clerks choosing to join the scheme to promote best practice within their organisation.
Total membership of the scheme currently stands at more than 7,000 members, with almost 700 UKALA (UK Association of Letting Agents) members now having access to PRS membership following the announcement of a formal partnership in October 2016.
Sean Hooker, head of redress for the PRS, says in the report that the rise in complaints can partly be attributed to overall growth of the scheme, but he believes it also indicates an upward trend in consumer awareness of the complaint process.
The most common causes for complaints were property management (29%) followed by deposits (27%) and problems with rent (15%). Service and fees both resulted in 6% of complaints. Tenants made up the majority of complaints at 51%, followed by landlords at 35%, leaseholders at 8%, buyers at 3% and sellers at just 1%.
The PRS awarded a total of £152,819 in compensation with the average amount awarded being £375.27.
Hooker said: “Although formal complaints have risen, so too has the number of complaints resolved at the early stages of our process.
“Around 40% of our cases are resolved at recommendation stage and 99% are dealt with in less than 90 days from receiving the initial complaint through to a decision.
“We continuously look at improvement and initiatives to increase the effectiveness and delivery of our service. We hope that the most recent introduction of our online complaint system will further reduce the average time to complaint resolution.”
The PRS is operated by insurance firm Hamilton Fraser, which also runs MyDeposits. The PRS is the newest of the redress schemes, starting in 2014.