Three lettings agencies have been expelled for The Property Ombudsman for failing to pay compensation to landlords.
And as they are now also banned from joining any redress scheme, they cannot operate as letting agents in future.
Sun Properties Leicester has been excluded from The Property Ombudsman for failing to pay an outstanding award of £3,220.14.
This followed TPO receiving a complaint from landlords regarding referencing checks carried out by Sun Properties Leicester on their tenant. The landlords also said that the agent had used the tenant's deposit for rent arrears when the tenant failed to pay rent.
Upon request from The Property Ombudsman, Sun Properties Leicester failed to provide a case file which members of TPO are obligated to do if a complaint is made about them, although there was evidence of some letters from the agent to the complainants.
A statement from TPO says: “The Ombudsman found that the agent's referencing checks were reckless. They had failed to carry out even basic checks on the tenant and had only obtained one landlord reference. There had also been insufficient checks on the tenant’s guarantor, and consequently the tenant failed to pay rent shortly after taking up the tenancy.”
And a lettings agent in Slough, Saville Park Ltd, has been excluded from The Property Ombudsman for failing to pay an outstanding award of £300.
TPO received a complaint from tenants relating to repairs and maintenance of their rental property, the provision of documentation, the end of tenancy procedures, provision of the landlord's details and complaints handling.
Ombudsman Rebecca Marsh was not satisfied that Saville Park Ltd had met its obligations under paragraph 14b of the 2016 Lettings Code as she could not determine what actions the agent had taken when the tenants reported issues or that the agent had kept them updated.
The Ombudsman was also unable to determine that the agent had provided statutory documentation prior to the start of the tenancy, was critical that the agent had not clarified the end of tenancy procedures as required and had not responded to the tenants’ complaint.
Saville Park Ltd was also criticised for not responding to a formal request for the landlord's details which it should have done by law, and did not explain that the tenants were not entitled to this once the tenancy had ended.
The Ombudsman considered that the issues raised had caused the tenants some avoidable aggravation and the complaint was supported with an award of £300.
Saville Park Ltd failed to pay the award made and the Ombudsman referred them to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from The Property Ombudsman scheme.
The third agency expelled is The Property Dragon Limited, which has already ceased trading and has been dissolved and removed from Companies House, but could be trading as Property Solutions Wales Porth.
The Property Dragon failed to pay a landlord £1,180 compensation after the firm’s management of a property failed to reach minimum standards set out in TPO’s Code of Practice.
Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.