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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Three rogue lettings agencies expelled by The Property Ombudsman

Three lettings agencies have been expelled from TPO - in each case the agency failed to honour a payment as instructed by The Property Ombudsman.

One is Let365co Ltd trading as 365 Residential; it owes a landlord £1,895 of a £3,800 award made by the Ombudsman.

In this case, a landlord made a complaint in relation to shortcomings in service provided by 365 Residential, which managed his 19 properties. 

On reviewing the complaint, the Ombudsman supported the landlord’s case noting that the agent had failed to; obtain, or take all reasonable steps to obtain, Gas Safety Certificates for two properties;  maintain records of periodic inspections carried out at all of the properties; provide the landlord with a signed Tenancy Agreement for one property; carry out or provide the landlord with inventories for 15 of the properties and had failed to respond to a complaint letter regarding one of the properties. 

The Ombudsman made a total award of £3,800 to reflect the avoidable aggravation caused to the landlord. 

The second case concerns JBE London Limited trading as JBE London, which owes a tenant £2,810.

The tenant made a complaint about the re-letting fee she had been charged by JBE London. The tenant also complained about the agent not providing her with the landlord's contact details; of poor communication and rudeness; not dealing with repair and maintenance issues and had not providing her with any assistance in getting her deposit back.

The tenant moved out of the property early and was required to pay a re-letting fee to cover marketing and administration. However, an email from JBE London had stated that if it found a replacement tenant then the £995 would be fully refunded. This caused subsequent confusion when another instructed agent found the replacement tenant and the agent sought to retain these monies. 

The Ombudsman did not consider it reasonable that the agent retain the full amount given the level of work that they had undertaken, and made a direction that they refund £500 of the £995 fee. TPO also awarded £300 for avoidable aggravation, and a further £2,010 for a deposit which had been disputed. 

 

The third and final expulsion is of Chew Valley Estates in Bristol which owes a landlord £5,200.

The complainant - a landlord and seller of a property - made a number of complaints including one that the agent had received rent of £4,800 from the tenants but had failed to pass the funds to the complainant. 

The agent had also failed to arrange for the security deposit to be transferred into the complainant's name when they terminated the instruction and had misled the complainant regarding an offer the sitting tenants had made to purchase the property. 

The Ombudsman supported the case and a direction was made for Chew Valley Estates to refund the complainant the £4,800 rent owed as well as £400 for the shortcomings in communication, which had resulted in the complainant suffering unnecessary aggravation. 

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