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Investigations and Complaints Adjudication

Under the new legislation the Authority is empowered to:
· investigate complaints made against Property Services Providers (PSPs) and
· initiate investigations for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the law.

Any person may make a complaint, in writing, to the Authority against a PSP in relation to the provision of a property service or the conduct of a PSP in the course of providing a property service. We have a Complaints Form, to help you to provide the required information. The Authority is required to investigate all complaints unless it is satisfied that:

· it is not made in good faith;
· is frivolous or vexatious or without substance or foundation;
· or is likely to be resolved by mediation or other informal means between the parties.

The Authority must appoint an Inspector to carry out the investigation whether the investigation is on foot of a complaint or initiated by the Authority.

Powers of Authority's Inspector

The Authority's Inspector has extensive powers under the new legislation including, among other things, the power to :
· require any person to supply all information, records, etc., relevant to the investigation;
· question any person for the purpose of the investigation.
· enter, inspect, examine and search any place at which any activity in connection with the provision of a property service is being carried on;
· require a PSP, or any employee or agent, to authorize him to inspect any account opened by the PSP in any bank;
· be accompanied by a member of the Garda Síochána if he has reasonable cause to fear any any serious obstruction.

Where, on completion of an investigation the Authority is satisfied that the PSP has engaged in improper conduct it may impose any of the following sanctions:
· issue a reprimand, warning, caution or advice to the PSP,
· revoke the PSP’s licence,
· suspend the PSP’s licence for a specified period,
· direct the PSP to pay:-
· up to €50,000 into the Property Services Compensation Fund,
· up to €50,000 to the Authority towards the cost of the investigation,
· up to €250,000 to the Authority by way of a financial penalty, or
· any combination of the foregoing.

Statutory Contraventions
The new legislation provides for a range of offences such as providing a property service without a licence, obstructing an investigation, mismanagement of client funds, etc. Any person found guilty of such an offence is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of up to €5,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both or, on conviction on indictment, to a fine of up to €50,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both.

Complaints to Representative Bodies.
It should be noted that the industry representative bodies (SCSI and IPAV) also have complaints and redress systems through which a client or customer of a PSP may wish to pursue a complaint.

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