The Property Ombudsman has announced the expulsion of eight agencies, all for contravening TPO codes of practice.
Most of the expulsions were lettings agents, and all of these are now in liquidation:
- Flat Sharing Ltd, trading as Flintons in east London; there was a complaint over a delay in returning security deposit and a delay in responding to the tenant’s complaint. A £250 award was unpaid;
- Sam Allan Estates Ltd, trading as Sam Allan Estates in Morpeth, Northumberland. A complaint from a landlord over referencing led to a £500 award which was unpaid;
- Ronald Davis & Co Ltd, trading as Davis & Co Ltd in Crystal Palace, London. There was a complaint by a landlord over unpaid rent and over-charged fees; a £1,204 went unpaid;
- Target Estates Ltd, trading as Target Estates in Romford, Essex: £350 award went unpaid following a complaint from a potential tenant who was not provided with criteria for referencing or for renting a property until after she had paid a holding deposit;
- Olive Branch Estate Limited, trading as The Olive Branch in Tonbridge, Kent. A complaint was registered regarding the agent’s failure to address maintenance issues which were promised, as well as failure to protect or return the tenant’s deposit. The £1,400 award was never paid; and
- Residential Asset Management Ltd, trading as RAM in Barkingside, Ilford. A £2,830 unpaid award was the issue here. However, TPO is aware that a there is a separate registered legal entity now trading from the last known address, using the same trading name. Residential Asset Management Limited has been referred to Trading Standards.
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.
“Cases like these are rare, with only 0.1 per cent of all TPO agents being referred to the Compliance Committee and 98 per cent of agents paying awards that are made. 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.
TPO says that for future cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ombudsman “will be taking into account challenges faced by agents for any complaints received during this period.”
For details of the two sale agents’ expulsions, please see here.