Two agencies have been expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme for failing to pay compensation awards.
Thamlet Estates, based in east London, failed to honour an award made after a complaint about a tenancy which fell through, with the tenant’s holding and security deposit both retained.
Thamlet Estates did not provide their terms and conditions relating to the payment of money to the tenant before she committed to the property and took an advance payment exceeding the equivalent of two weeks rent.
No written explanation was given for their decision to retain the money - it simply stated it was non-refundable.
TPO directed the agency to refund the monies of £550 and awarded £100 in compensation.
The Ombudsman says it’s now unclear if Thamlet Estates is still actively trading. There is currently a ‘back soon’ holding page on its website.
The second agency expelled is Preside, a residential block management company in central London.
A leaseholder complained that after reporting a leak coming from the flat above into his property it took nine months for something to be done. The leak was eventually repaired but the remedial work to his property remained incomplete.
Evidence provided by the leaseholder to TPO showed poor communication from Preside following several letters and phone calls which received no response.
TPO made an award of £750 and the Ombudsman says that although the agency is formally in liquidation, it appears to be still trading under the new name Preside Limited.
Both agents failed to pay awards made and were referred to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from The Property Ombudsman scheme.
As part of TPO’s process, notification of these expulsions are shared with all relevant bodies including Trading Standards for further investigation.
The memorandum of understanding between TPO and other redress schemes prevents agents from registering with another scheme until outstanding awards have been paid to consumers.