A Bristol-based agent that is believed to be one of the latest expulsions from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has told EYE it has already resigned from the redress scheme as it is leaving the sector.
Local paper Bristol Live reported that lettings agent Chew Valley Estates has been expelled from TPO for failing to pay redress of £7,500 ordered to be paid to one of its landlords.
The agent, rated one out of five on AllAgents and 2.8 on Google Reviews, is accused of misleading the landlord about who the tenants were. The person who ending up renting the property allegedly caused £5,500 of damage and left £14,400 of unpaid rent.
The report says that Chew Valley Estates was investigated by TPO and given 30 days from September to pay the £7,500 but had failed to do so.
The landlord told Bristol Live this was not the first time the agent has failed to pay an award. EYE has queried why the agent would not have previously been expelled.
However, the agency hit back at the report yesterday and denied claims it was expelled, insisting the firm had already chosen to close the business and leave TPO.
The agent has no listings on any of the portals and EYE spoke with someone on its office number who only gave his name as Tom, who said: “After 16 years we decided we have had enough and want to do something else.”
He said all redress has been paid and claimed that the landlord had been kept aware of the tenant situation and had asked for the news report to be pulled before publication.
Companies House documents show Chew Valley Estates was dissolved as a limited company in 2014.
Its directors were Nick Rowland-Fry and Samantha Newport.
Tom told EYE that the firm had been operating as a sole trader since 2014.
He also said a separate company that had been set up by the former directors in May this year was going to be a franchise agent but this plan was no longer going ahead.
A TPO spokesperson confirmed to EYE that Chew Valley Estates has been expelled.