A senior director at a letting agency in Exeter has been handed a six-year ban after failing to safeguard more than £68,000 worth of tenants’ deposits.
Clear Lettings Limited, better known as Clear Property, operated a custodial deposit scheme, in accordance with the Housing Act 2004, enabling the company to safely hold onto tenants’ deposits on behalf of their landlords.
But for more than two years, Kelly Forrester, the firm’s director, caused the company to collect tenants’ deposits connected to at least 54 properties but did not pay them into the government-backed custodial deposit scheme.
Instead, the 40-year old spent the money on the general running of the company.
The misconduct was uncovered after Clear Lettings entered into liquidation proceedings in April 2019 and the Insolvency Service conducted investigations into the activities of Forrester while director of the firm.
The Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Kelly Forrester after she did not dispute that she had caused Clear Lettings failure to ensure that deposits taken from tenants by the company totalling at least £68,356 were safeguarded, as required by law.
Effective from 14 January 2020, Forrester is banned for six years from acting as a director or directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, commented: “Kelly Forrester failed to safeguard the deposits she was entrusted to hold onto, resulting in losses to both landlords and tenants.
"Her conduct fell short of what is required of a director of a limited liability company and her disqualification will act as a deterrent to others from similar conduct in the future.”