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Essex Agent Excluded from The Property Ombudsman

Between January and March 2022 (inclusive), only one agent was excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay a compensatory award.

The excluded agent is Legra Homes Ltd (formerly Abode Real Estate Limited), a sales agent in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

A potential buyer complained that there was a substantial delay in their commitment fee being returned after the seller withdrew from the proposed sale. Legra Homes Ltd did not deny being aware of the seller pulling out and did not return the fee immediately.

Legra Homes Ltd did not provide their company file to TPO, which meant the Ombudsman was unable to determine what instructions were given when taking the commitment deposit. Without agreed terms in writing the Ombudsman supported the complaint and awarded £250 in compensation, in addition to the full deposit being refunded.

The company is no longer trading. All emails bounce back and Google states that it’s permanently closed. There are no active listings on Zoopla, Rightmove or Onthemarket. However, one of the two directors has a new real estate agency registered with the Property Redress Scheme.

Legra Homes Ltd failed to pay the award made and was therefore referred to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from The Property Ombudsman scheme.

Despite 2021 being another challenging year, TPO has maintained 98% compliance with Ombudsman awards demonstrating TPO’s effective in ensuring consumers continue to receive appropriate redress. The Compliance Committee has taken action against all agents that did not comply with the Ombudsman’s decision.

As part of TPO’s process, notification of these expulsions are shared with all relevant bodies, including both Local and National Trading Standards for further investigation. The memorandum of understanding between TPO and other redress schemes prevents agents from registering with another scheme until outstanding awards have been paid to consumers.