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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Five agents kicked out of Ombudsman scheme after disputes

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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