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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Police and local council investigate sudden closure of agency

A letting agency is being investigated by a local council and the police after it closed suddenly last month.

Dukes Letting Department, situated in Eastbourne, closed its doors unexpectedly on February 17. 

It has posted a statement on its website which reads:

"It is with regret that we announce ‎that Dukes Letting Department will no longer be operating a letting and management service, with immediate effect! We are formally closing the company and each client and tenant will be contacted individually to process each tenancy.” 

“We have been proud to supply a service to all our many clients within the Meads and outlying village communities."

Sussex Police told the Eastbourne Herald that they were called to the agency on February 22 after they received a report that the agency was suspected of acting fraudulently.

The Eastbourne newspaper says it has been contacted by numerous landlords and tenants, who claim they are owed money by the agency. 

East Sussex County Council has subsequently confirmed that it is 'looking into' Dukes' closure.

A spokesperson for the council told the Eastbourne Herald: "We are aware that this limited company has recently ceased trading and are currently trying to establish which liquidator has been appointed."

The council has advised anyone who has lost money as a result of the closure to contact Citizens' Advice.

Dukes Letting Department's website indicates it was a member of the Property Redress Scheme and held its deposits with the Deposit Protection Service.

The Property Redress Scheme has told Letting Agent Today that it is aware that Dukes appears to have closed unexpectedly and that it has fielded a number of calls from landlords who have been unable to contact the agency. 

“We have made our own enquiries and have not had any response,” says Sean Hooker, head of redress at the Property Redress Scheme.

“Enquires can be made to companies house to establish the position of the company. If the directors try to voluntarily wind up the company then an objection can be raised using the process set out on the government website.”

Letting Agent Today has contacted the agency for comment.

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