Two lettings agencies have been expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme for failing to pay awards.
One is OJ Residentials Limited trading as Oscar Jones Residential (OJR), an agency in Canary Wharf, London, which did not pay a £3,700 award.
TPO’s office says the agent had encouraged and taken advance payment from a complainant for a tenancy that he (the tenant) could not afford and was unsuitable for, owing to the fact he had mental health issues and full housing benefit.
On instruction from the agent, who advised the tenant to pay upfront monies and then ask the council to repay it to him once in the property, the tenant paid £3,200 - this comprised £1,200 security deposit, £1,200 advance rent and £800 administration fee (which included a £500 holding deposit).
The tenant asked to be released from the tenancy prior to its commencement but the agent contended that the money was non-refundable, although it offered a refund of £500.
After considering evidence presented from both parties, Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle awarded in the tenant’s favour and ordered Oscar Jones to repay the £3,200 paid by the complainant, as well as a further £500 for avoidable aggravation, considerable distress and inconvenience.
Oscar Jones has neither responded nor paid the award.
TPO has also expelled Property Solutions GB which operates from Cheetham Hill, Manchester.
A landlord made numerous complaints to TPO about the lack of communication by Property Solutions who had been instructed to let and manage his property.
The complaints related largely to the agent’s failure to act promptly or provide evidence for charges for repairs or other works made.
Property Solutions GB failed to cooperate with the Ombudsman’s investigation, providing no evidence to contradict the landlord’s claims.
The Ombudsman awarded £2,767 in the landlord’s favour, comprising £2,192 in charges made by the agent which the Ombudsman felt should be refunded and a further £575 in recognition of the avoidable and undue aggravation.
Property Solutions GB has neither responded nor paid the award.