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Two Agents Excluded from The Property Ombudsman in Q4 202

Property noise assessment

Between October and December 2021 (inclusive), two agents were excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay compensatory awards.

The excluded agents include:

· Thamlet Estates, a sales and lettings agent in London, E2. This agent failed to met their obligations under the TPO Code of Practice after a tenancy fell through and the tenant’s holding and security deposit were both retained. Thamlet Estates did not provide their terms and conditions relating to the payment of money to the tenant before she committed to the property and took an advance payment exceeding the equivalent of two weeks rent. No written explanation was given for their decision to retain the money, they simply stated it was non-refundable. TPO directed them to refund the monies of £550 and awarded £100 in compensation. It’s unclear if Thamlet Estates is still actively trading. There is currently a ‘back soon’ holding page on their website.

· Preside, a residential block management company in London, W1. A leaseholder complained that after reporting a leak coming from the flat above into his property it took nine months for something to be done. The leak was eventually repaired but the remedial work to his property remained incomplete. Evidence provided by the leaseholder showed poor communication from Preside following several letters and phone calls which received no response. TPO made an award of £750. TPO is aware that this agent is in liquidation. However, they appear to be still trading under a new business, Preside Limited.

Both agents failed to pay awards made and were referred to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from The Property Ombudsman scheme. However, it’s important to reiterate that of the 2,473 financial awards made to consumers in 2020, 2,433 were paid. 23 awards remained unpaid throughout the year with only 19 agents excluded.

98% of Ombudsman awards are complied with by agents demonstrating TPO’s effectiveness in ensuring consumers continue to receive appropriate redress.

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.