Two agents have been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme after failing to pay redress owed to clients.
There seems to be little chance of the redress being paid as both firms are listed on Companies House as having an active proposal to be struck off and are late filing their accounts.
The websites of both companies are no longer live, their phone numbers do not work and they do not appear to have any portal listings.
Both firms have been referred to Trading Standards by TPO.
In one case, a complaint was brought to TPO by a landlord who said Chase & Co UK, based in Shoreditch, London, owed him a fee refund and rent which had been paid by the tenant but not passed on.
The landlord paid an upfront fee to Chase & Co UK but his tenant vacated seven months early and so it was agreed that he was entitled to a refund.
Chase & Co UK also failed to demonstrate that they had carried out their advertised service of informing the council that the tenant residing in the property was exempt from paying Council Tax, leading to the landlord incurring court fees of £246.41, TPO said.
The agent failed to respond to the landlord and the TPO so the complaint was supported and £8,319.41 was awarded to cover the return of the agent’s fee, the missing rent, the court fee, and an additional £800 for the avoidable aggravation caused.
Chase & Co UK failed to pay the award and was referred to the TPO’s independent compliance committee, which ruled the firm should be expelled.
In another case, Isle of Dogs-based Property 24/7 has been expelled for not paying an award of £500 made by the Ombudsman after failing to register a tenancy deposit.
The agent was also accused of not communicating with the landlord over requirements for furnishings and pre-tenancy repairs and failed to respond to their communications.
TPO said Property 24/7 did not cooperate with its review of the case as it did not provide their branch file.
The Ombudsman supported all three elements of the case and made an award of £500.
Property 24/7 failed to pay the award and it was expelled following a review by TPO’s compliance committee.
Both firms are not currently registered with a redress scheme, which is a requirement of every sales and letting agent in order to trade legally.
They also do no not appear to be a member of a Client Money Protection scheme, also a legal requirement.
TPO is unable to enforce payment if an agent is no longer trading but those owed redress are provided with the necessary documentation to make a legal claim against that company if they wish.
Additionally, TPO’s agreement with the Property Redress Scheme means that not only will expelled agents not be able to register for any form of redress, but any new company set up by the same directors will not be accepted for redress membership, until the Ombudsman’s award is paid.