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Complaint Handling and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Complaint Handling and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Handling complaints and disputes fairly is vital to inspiring confidence.

Our global position on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Complaint handling

As per Rule 7 of the Rules of Conduct for Firms, it's mandatory for all firms to operate a complaints handling procedure (CHP) and maintain a complaints log.

Examples of these documents can be found on this page as well as a regulation help sheet setting out useful information in this area.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Rule 7 of the Rules of Conduct for Firms also requires that the CHP must include an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism that is approved by the RICS Standards and Regulation Board.

ADR providers are not one size fits all and the firm or valuer must ensure that the provider(s) they elect to use are appropriate for the nature of their professional services.

The main principles the Standards and Regulation Board has established in approving ADR mechanisms are that:

  • the ADR mechanism must be well established;
  • the ADR mechanism must be independent of the firm or valuer; and
  • the ADR mechanism must use a transparent, accountable and consistent decision-making process.
  • where the complaint is made by a consumer (which means a person acting outside the course of any business of their own, or a person to whom a duty of care is owed) then the ADR must be a redress mechanism that is free to the consumer (applies only in the UK).

Other factors for firms and valuers to consider are the need to:

  • inform clients about their CHP including their chosen ADR mechanism. This information should be brought to the client's attention when the terms of engagement are agreed and when the client makes a complaint; and
  • make the appropriate arrangements to ensure that they are part of the ADR mechanism stated in their CHP.

Firms and valuers can find guidance on how to meet this requirement depending on where they are operating below.

Meeting the requirements in your region

  • The ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms – UK and Ireland’ guide sets out the approved redress mechanisms that you can use for complaints received from consumer and/or commercial clients in the UK. You must use at least one of these redress mechanisms.

    A consumer can be broadly defined as a person who is not acting in the course of any business. For consumers, you will need to have a redress mechanism in place that is free at the point of entry. If your firm does not have any consumer clients, you must inform RICS by selecting the option "no consumer clients" in your firm’s annual return.

    If your firm selects the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) for consumer redress on the annual return, you are agreeing to use that scheme for surveying services other than residential agency (lettings agency, estate agency and property management).

    Access more information on CEDR 

    For residential agency you will need to select either the Property Redress Scheme or The Property Ombudsman and register directly with them. The Property Ombudsman is approved for all consumer-facing surveying services.

  • For continental Europe, the EMEA Regulatory sub-board agreed in January 2018, that any consumer ADR provider qualified under the EU Directive (by approval from the relevant competent authority in their country) and that features on the European Commission list of approved ADRs, will also be considered as automatically approved by RICS, for the purposes of meeting the requirements of Rule 7 of the RICS Rules of Conduct for Firms.

    The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is approved throughout the EMEA region.

    The 'Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms – EMEA' document sets out ADR mechanisms that the Standards and Regulation Board has approved for use across EMEA.

    If you have any questions on ADR in EMEA, please contact us through

  • The 'Alternative Dispute Resolution Providers - Asia Pacific' sets out the ADR mechanisms that the Standards and Regulation Board has approved for use across Asia Pacific.

    If you have any questions on ADR in Asia Pacific, please contact us through

  • If you have any questions on ADR in the Americas, please contact us through