Mystery as agent closes despite still having several live listings

An agent cited as being one of the best in the country has closed suddenly despite still having several listings remaining on Rightmove and showing up as a member of the Property Ombudsman scheme.

Clear Property, in Exeter, had three lettings listings and 20 for sale on Rightmove, with 11 displayed as under offer or sold up until yesterday evening, but a notice on its website says it ceased trading as of February 26.

The Rightmove listings were removed last night after EYE queried if the agent was still a subscriber and the portal said it was no longer a user.

Hawkins Insolvency has been appointed as administrator but it is unclear what has happened with its existing listings and properties it manages.

Other local agents have told EYE they have been contacted by confused landlords who claim to have been left out of pocket.

The phone number for the agent still works but just rings out and goes to an answer machine.

Its founder, Kelly Forrester, told her local paper that the company had decided to enter voluntary liquidation due to Brexit and for the good of her health.

She said: “This past 12 months have been an extremely stressful time and the decision to cease trading immediately was to ensure matters did not spiral out of control.

“Due to my own health and the economy I had to, after 12 years, make the decision to close my office.

“I would like to thank my wonderful team and all my loyal customers and other professionals who have supported my business over the past 12 years.”

EYE has asked her for comment on the position of landlords, and existing sales and lets.

The agent was founded in 2007 and was named among the top 20% in the Best Estate Agent Guide 2018.

Its AllAgents profile appears to have disappeared but it has a four out of five star rating on Google Reviews.

Its most recent review, from three months ago, was negative though, with complaints about service levels and response times.

A note from the agent on the review said: “Really sorry to hear this, we have just experienced our busiest period with all our student properties for next year coming on the market.

“We have received a significant increase in calls and website enquiries from last year. However we always strive to offer excellent service and would like to look into this further to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Its latest micro company accounts, at Companies House, showed it had net assets of £7,816 as of June 30, 2017.

A TPO spokesman said Clear Property was still listed as a member.

The agent’s administrator was unavailable for comment.

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/award-winning-exeter-estate-agent-2589205

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4 Comments

  1. Malcolm Egerton

    I don’t suppose the fact that 362 people have read their most damaging review (according to Google) has had anything to do with their demise?

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  2. KByfield04

    Having met Kelly on 2-3 occasions at several awards this is very sad to hear- she was clearly a very passionate and committed boss and had staff around her that were also passionate and determined. Wishing Kelly and all her staff all the very best for the future.

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  3. ibex100

    Received no rent for February so am assuming it was not held in a client account as required by law. A local agent has told me “there are issues with outstanding rents and missing deposits on some if not all properties”. A search for my tenant’s deposit on the DPS database has turned up no results, despite my contract stating that Clear would register it with them as required by law. I urge all Clear clients to check for their deposits, and if missing report to Trading Standards. Clear do not appear to belong to a Client Money Protection scheme, which becomes mandatory on 1st April with a £30k fine for not joining. Blame Brexit? I think not.

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  4. ibex100

    The deposit protection database must be searched by month of start of tenancy. By entering every month since, I have found the deposit registered in February 2019, ten months into the tenancy and just prior to liquidation.

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