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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Expelled! Seven rogue letting agents kicked out of Ombudsman scheme

Seven agencies have been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman after failing to pay compensation awards made by TPO.

All are in relation to lettings and most involve multiple complaints; in total some £110,000 in awards have not been paid. It appears all seven have now stopped trading.

They are:

Nextmove in Berverley, Yorkshire (which failed to pay complainants awards totalling £3,256.80);

Marques Residential Limited in Southampton (£17,775); 

Lang and Ward in East London (£250);

William Huxley, also in East London (£6,583); 

TM Estates Limited in Kent  (£23,700);

Abbey Properties at Brook Green in London (£400); and

Berkshire Estates in Slough (£60,292.24).

All of the complaints against the respective agents were independently reviewed and upheld by the Ombudsman, who directed payment of the money to those owed, together with compensation in all the cases.  

To date, all seven agents have failed to make any payment.

The Ombudsman referred them to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled the firms should be expelled from the TPO.  

None of the agents are currently registered with a redress scheme, which is a requirement of every sales and letting agent in order to trade legally. They also do not appear to be members of a Client Money Protection scheme and do not hold any professional memberships. 

Most no longer have active websites or advertise on any of the main property portals, except for Abbey Properties, which has been reported to Trading Standards.

“Cases like these are rare, evidenced by the fact that just 0.1 per cent of all TPO agents are referred to the Compliance Committee. As members of TPO, agents have an obligation to provide a reliable, trustworthy and professional service, and where they are found to fail in this, are obliged to comply with awards made by the Ombudsman.  Last year 97 per cent of agents paid awards made. However, in all of these cases, the agents have not co-operated fully and have failed to pay awards made” explains Gerry Fitzjohn, non-executive director and chairman of TPO’s Finance Committee.

  • Paul Barrett

    This is just the start.
    There will be considerably more LA that will cease trading.
    The long overdue cull of fraudulent LA is starting and good riddance.
    This should result in far fewer but far more competent LA.

    S l
    • S l
    • 04 June 2019 10:13 AM

    But this does not stop LA from overcharging landlords

     
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    Agree. To many dictatory LAs with their own distorted rules. Fee rip off cap will sort out a lot of the cowboy type outfits.
    Aleady i am being approached by LA offering Half of the normal 'new fees'.
    LAs will stream line their outfits. Find a tenant, credit ref, collate all ID, confirm incomes, sign then up, £250 LL fee. Job done . Move on to next Find.
    All this ho har about nothing.

  • icon

    I'm sure THOSE companies have ceased Trading.... - but we all know a company can be closed down and another set up overnight.
    In that respect, the regulation - legislation doesn't achieve its aim.

  • icon

    I have dealt with many letting agents and found those who are cheap tent to be cheap for a reason and the multinationals overcharge and poorly train the staff as have large turnover of employees. It is a shame that you find the long standing smaller agents are probably the best in most areas of their job and expertise.

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