Estate agents' watchdog receives over 500 complaints in two years
MORE than 500 complaints have been made against estate agents since the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) was established.
However, chief executive Thomas Lynch says it cannot deal with complaints about gazumping as the practice is not illegal.
The complaints range from estate agents having bad manners to issues over deposits.
"Gazumping and gazundering (where a price goes up or down despite a previous agreement between the buyer and seller) are not illegal activities and consequently are not matters for investigation by the authority," Mr Lynch said.
By the end of June this year the PSRA had received 533 complaints about property agents.
The agency has a backlog because it has only five investigators, and some of the complaints pre-date its establishment.
Mr Lynch said it is most important people understand the law when they are buying a property.
"A deposit does not mean the deal is done," said Mr Lynch.
Of the complaints received since the PSRA's inception two years ago, only two cases have been settled.
Four complaints were considered to be outside the remit of the PSRA and 11 have been withdrawn.
The PSRA works under the Property Services Act 2011. Before it was set up, buyers had nowhere to complain to if they felt an estate agent had acted improperly.
There are 132 complaints in the full inspection phase and 142 in the initial assessment stage, according to the PSRA's data.
It is understood that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has been asked to fund more staff for the PSRA.