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Estate agent kicked out by Property Ombudsman after withholding rent

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  • 24/08/2017
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Estate agent kicked out by Property Ombudsman after withholding rent
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has expelled a sales and letting agent from South West London after it refused to pay an award to a wronged customer.

The Ombudsman warned that even though Premier Moves Management’s (PMM) office is shut and does not appear to be registered with Rightmove or Zoopla, it may still be trading illegally as its website is still live with properties listed as both being for sale and for let.

Complaints were raised against the agent by customers who received a poor service, claiming that promises were not kept and the firm was uncontactable even during office hours.

An investigation by the Ombudsman resulted in each complaint being upheld, and the firm was ordered to transfer all owed rents to complainants – totalling £4,350 – as well as £500 compensation.

 

Withheld rent

Katrine Sporle, Property Ombudsman, said: “My investigation found the agent had failed to ensure rent was passed on to the complainants (landlords) promptly and considered this caused the complainants aggravation, distress and inconvenience. The agent agreed, in writing, that the amount owed to the complainants would be fully paid to them in 28 days but the agent failed to make any payment so the case was referred to the Disciplinary and Standards Committee.”

The committee found that the agent did make an offer to pay in installments, which was refused by the complainants, and no further offer or any payment was made after that.

As a result, Premier Moves Management has been expelled and excluded from membership of the TPO for a year.

Gerry Fitzjohn, chairman of TPO’s Board, said: “We set high standards for agents – the scheme’s approved Code of Practice goes above and beyond the letter of the law, requiring agents to offer additional safeguards to protect consumers. This firm will no longer be able to trade as a result of this expulsion and we urge any consumers that suspect the firm is trading to contact Trading Standards who have been notified of PMM’s expulsion.” 

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