AIPP's new independent arbitration scheme

05/01/2011

…AIPP sets out to rebuild confidence in international property market and strengthen appeal of AIPP members to potential purchasers…

The leading association in the international property market, the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP), is introducing a new independent arbitration scheme to its complaints procedure.

It will help resolve difficult and lengthy complaints more swiftly and efficiently whilst keeping costs lower for complainants and defendants as well as giving membership of the AIPP even greater value in the market.

“The new procedure greatly strengthens the AIPP’s ability to resolve disagreements between our members and purchasers in the international market quickly and more efficiently,” says Prof Mark Sharp, CEO of the AIPP.

“Many disputes can be resolved informally, but a handful are more complex. From now on, these disputes will be heard by an independent organisation providing a swifter, more efficient and lower cost service for all parties.”  

From January 2011, the more difficult cases which cannot be resolved informally, will be referred to the AIPP’s new scheme operated by independent dispute resolution service provider, IDRS Ltd, which will produce a legally binding decision awarding costs and compensation where relevant.   The scheme is designed to deal with disputes for the sum of £30,000 or less between agent and developer members of the AIPP and their clients and is a far less expensive option than pursuing the matter via legal channels.   Disputes over higher sums or between AIPP members won’t be covered by the scheme, however will be referred to ‘ad hoc’ arbitration which is still a swifter, more cost-effective avenue of dispute resolution compared to the courts.   

Previously under the AIPP’s Dispute Resolution Procedure, disputes which could not be resolved informally were referred to arbitration that was either sourced by the parties themselves, or in the absence of agreement, provided by the London Court of International Arbitration, which was significantly more costly for members and clients.  

The new scheme is similar to that operated by organisations such as ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and will help build confidence in the international property market and notably in buying from AIPP members.  News of this procedure is heading up a new marketing campaign to consumers for 2011.  

In January, the AIPP is also encouraging its members to use more clearly drafted written agreements and is producing a template Standard Reservation form.  At the same time, the AIPP is distributing a recommended internal ‘Complaints Handling Procedure’ as a guideline to help members deal effectively with customer complaints when they do arise. 

“Too often disputes arise over poorly drafted or unclear contracts,” says Prof Sharp.  “We hope to reduce the number of these by circulating template documents to our members and encouraging their use when companies do not already have robust documentation.

“Other disputes arise over slow or inadequate handling of customer complaints. Again we will be encouraging members to adopt a best practice complaints procedure,” he adds.

The new procedure comes in the wake of the UK Government‘s announcement in December that it had decided to appoint a special overseas property advisor to help British owners of Spanish properties who have experienced property fraud in Spain.

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