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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Expelled! Six lettings agencies kicked out by Ombudsman

The Property Ombudsman has announced a slew of expulsions after six agents failed to comply with redress rules.

They failed to abide by parts of the TPO Codes of Practice and pay subsequent awards made by the Ombudsman. 

Some of the agents are thought to have ceased trading while others have re-opened under the same name with different directors. 

Although awards made by TPO in 2018 were paid by agents to consumers in 97 per cent of cases, the Ombudsman is issuing a reminder to agents that their agreement with the Property Redress Scheme, means that expelled agents are unable to register for any form of redress.

And any new company set up by the same directors will not be accepted for redress membership, until the Ombudsman’s award is paid.

The expelled agents and outstanding awards are:

- Citi Places Management Ltd (trading as Citi Places Management) based in East London - Unpaid award of £3,400 (active website now, but no properties advertised);

- Elite Properties Esex Ltd (trading as Elite Properties) based in Grays, Essex - Unpaid award of £200 (appears to have ceased trading with no active website);

- Pinkmove Lettings Newport Limited (trading as Pinkmove Lettings Limited) based in Newport, Wales - Unpaid award of £5,000 - (PLEASE NOTE: This company is a separate company from Pinkmove Ltd estate agents);

- PM Premier Limited (trading as PM Premier Ltd) based in Redhill, North Somerset - Unpaid award of £500 (The same directors have set up a new company, The Letting Station, but appear not to be registered for redress and have been referred to Trading Standards);

- CE Property Ltd (trading from Bitterne Precinct as Charles Carr), based in Southampton - Unpaid award of £350 (A new company trading under the same name but with no connected directors is trading from the same address and registered for redress with PRS);

- Madox Estates Ltd (trading as Madox), based in West Kensington, London - Unpaid award of £5,269 (Appears to have ceased trading with no active website)

TPO finance committee chair Gerry Fitzjohn says of the expulsions: “In the few cases where awards remain unpaid, agents are referred to the TPO Compliance Committee, which has the power to expel agents from the scheme. Expelled agents are reported to the appropriate authorities who have the power to ban agents from carrying out agency business. If TPO becomes aware that an agent under investigation has ceased trading, complainants are promptly informed and, where an award is made, are provided with the necessary documentation to make a claim against that company.”

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    The Limited Company structure is just a recipe for abuse. The current process is not effective, although I'm wary of recommending further regulation - its just that the Property Redress schemes are not effective and take too long to resolve issues.

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