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Purplebricks creates new compliance role after rental deposits scandal

Purplebricks has announced a new director of risk and compliance, following its lettings division’s high profile compliance error last year. 

In Decvember it was revealed that Purplebricks had - for an unspecified period of time - failed to properly serve legally-required documents to tenants explaining their deposits had been put into a national protection scheme. At the time Purplebricks put the financial liability of the error at between £3m and £9m but one newspaper report said it could be up to £30m.

In its latest trading statement the agency said: “We were disappointed to discover a process issue in our lettings business in December 2021 relating to how we had been communicating with tenants on behalf of landlords about deposit registrations and prescribed information. We acted quickly to assess the extent of any potential claims and made a provision of £3.6m accordingly. We are satisfied that this amount remains appropriate. 


“The Board recognised that it was also important to learn from the issue and therefore sought independent third-party assurance in relation to the end-to-end process and controls in the lettings business. We have made significant changes in line with recommendations arising from this work, including the introduction of new processes and controls, and retraining our people. We believe that our structure now supports the delivery of our strategic goals whilst providing a better customer experience.”

The new director of risk and compliance has been named this morning as Helen Martin, who joins from LSL Property Services. 

In her new role she will be responsible for oversight of risk management and compliance, as well as further strengthening processes and procedures.

Martin began her career as a lawyer with Eversheds in 1998 before specialising in risk and compliance in 2006. 

She joined LSL in early 2015 in a senior compliance role and was responsible for the oversight and development of compliance policy across LSL’s mortgage and insurance offer; in 2018 she became risk and governance director of LSL’s estate agency division.

She says: “This is an exciting opportunity to join the best-known brand in the industry and to be part of an ambitious team who have made it clear to me that they recognise the importance of an effective risk management framework and compliance culture.  I am looking forward to joining [chief executive Helena Marston] and the team to continue the work already underway to put in place the highest standards of compliance.”


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