The Property Ombudsman has expelled five agencies, mostly for failures to honour awards: four of them are lettings operations and one disputes its status as an agency. Several of the firms are no longer trading.
DMF Inventories of Milton Keynes failed to register a landlord’s deposit with the Deposit Protection Service, and later failed to release a tenant’s deposit of £1,377. No response was made to TPO’s enquiries and an award made up of £1,377 for the tenant’s deposit and £300 compensation was not paid.
Also expelled was Plush Lettings of Carmarthenshire. In this case a landlord com that the agency failures to secure his property and erroneously destroyed belongings in a garage worth £8,743 after misinterpreting correspondence.
TPO recommended £1,850 compensation with £150 for the aggravation, distress and inconvenience but these sums were not paid. Plush appears to be operating, according to the Ombudsman’s office.
In the case of Chebar Homes of London, TPO received multiple complaints by landlords regarding the handling of rent payments and subsequent complaints.
An award for £1,556 was made, but Chebar Homes failed to pay.
Concept Lettings Ltd of Reading has been expelled following failure to pay £4,704 awarded following a dispute over a landlord’s instruction for the agency to secure a tenant on a find-only basis. The landlord complained about allegedly poor referencing by the agency, following the tenant defaulting.
The Ombudsman considered that referencing to be inadequate.
The only TPO expulsion regarding a sales issue applies to EstateEducation of Norwich; a buyer paid the company a £500 Reservation Fee in anticipation of purchasing under the Right to Buy Scheme.
The Ombudsman considered it reasonable for EstatEducation to pay the buyer £375 but the company disputes the findings.