The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has opted to extend its exclusion of a letting agency by an additional four years after seven more landlords raised disputes against the company.
Premier Property Management (PPM), based in Truro, Cornwall, was originally expelled by the redress scheme in November last year after it was discovered that the firm failed pass on rental payments and delayed handing over deposits to a landlord.
PPM was initially excluded from TPO for a period of two years but the expulsion has now been extended following additional complaints by landlords, which resulted in awards totalling £20,566.23.
The punishment means that PPM can no longer legally trade, although it appears that the company is no longer trading and the website is no longer active.
“While it is believed that the firm is no longer trading, we have taken action to ensure the firm’s expulsion is extended so they are unable to trade if they attempt to register with any redress scheme, said Gerry Fitzjohn, chairman of TPO’s board.
He added: “We have also alerted the relevant authorities concerning their conduct. We urge consumers to always check their sales or letting agent is registered with TPO, and following the scheme’s Codes of Practice which offer additional safeguards to protect consumers from unfair practices.”
In coming to a judgement on each case, the TPO considered the evidence presented by landlords, which included emails and bank statements, and the standards set out in TPO’s Lettings Code of Practice.
Katrine Sporle, Property Ombudsman, commented: “This agent’s behaviour fell well below the standards expected and their systematic failure to pass on rental payments and deposits received has affected the lives of several landlords.
“Cases like these are fortunately extremely rare but do highlight the importance of consumers keeping their own written records so I can review emails, bank statements and correspondence as part of my investigation to determine if the agent has acted fairly.”