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Six estate agents expelled from Ombudsman scheme

  • 12/10/2021
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Six estate agents expelled from Ombudsman scheme
Six estate agency firms have been kicked out of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme over the last couple of months, the Ombudsman confirmed.

Agents are required to follow certain rules in order to remain members of the scheme, including the payment of awards to customers when the Ombudsman finds they have behaved inappropriately.

Each of the agents failed to make these compensation payments, and so have been kicked off the scheme.

An investigation by TPO into Ivory and Hatton, a sales and letting agent in Canary Wharf, had found that it had retained two rent payments rather than handing them to the landlord. It was told to pay the complainant nearly £4,500 covering both the rent owed and “avoidable aggravation”, but this has not been made.

The TPO said that its website is still active, displaying properties for sale and rent, though its contact details no longer work.

Elite Property Management and Lettings, based in Liverpool, was also found to have withheld money from a landlord and has yet to pay two outstanding awards, one of which was worth over £9,000. It no longer has an online presence, and TPO said it believes it is not still trading. 

Finchley-based Easy Lettings was kicked out after a complaint from a landlord who struggled to regain control of one of her flats due to a binding contract in place which the agent had failed to highlight to her. The lettings agent was told to pay the landlord £1,000, and TPO noted that while it does not appear to still be trading, it appears to have been rebranded as Easy Estates Group. Its details have been shared with trading standards.

LS Lettings and Sales, based in Plymouth, was told to pay a landlord £550 over the incorrect handling of a tenant’s deposit, but appears to have now closed, while Shepherds Place Property Sourcing Services, a buying agent in Blackburn, also seems to no longer be trading.

It was told to pay £3,000 after an investigation found that properties identified did not meet investors’ criteria, while there was a clause in the buying agreement which allowed a deposit to be retained, which was not made clear.

Finally, Ewemove Wokingham was kicked out after only paying £1,800 towards an award of £4,872, having now ceased trading. 

Despite these issues, TPO highlighted that 98 per cent of the awards ordered by the Ombudsman gain full compliance.

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