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Property Ombudsman expels agents over non-compliance and failure to pay awards

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has expelled six agents who failed to comply with parts of the TPO Codes of Practice and have not paid subsequent awards made by the Ombudsman.

Whilst some of the agents appear to have ceased trading, others have re-opened trading under the same name but with different directors with all complaints against the agents in relation to lettings work.

All of the complaints against the agents were in relation to lettings work and although awards made by the Ombudsman in 2018 were paid by agents to consumers in 97% of cases, TPO is issuing a reminder to agents that their 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.

The expelled agents and outstanding awards are names as Citi Places Management Ltd, trading as Citi Places Management, based in East London, with an unpaid award of £3,400. It is described as having an active website but no properties advertised.

Elite Properties Essex Ltd, trading as Elite Properties, based in Grays, Essex, with an unpaid award of £200. The firm appears to have ceased trading with no active website.

Pinkmove Lettings Newport Limited, trading as Pinkmove Lettings Limited, based in Newport, Wales, with an unpaid award of £5,000.

PM Premier Limited, trading as PM Premier Ltd, based in Redhill, North Somerset, with an unpaid award of £500. The same directors have set up a new company, The Letting Station, but appear not to be registered for redress and have been referred to Trading Standards.

CE Property Ltd, trading from Bitterne Precinct as Charles Carr, based in Southampton, with an unpaid award of £350. A new company trading under the same name but with no connected directors is trading from the same address and registered for redress with PRS.

Madox Estates Ltd, trading as Madox, based in West Kensington, London, with an unpaid award of £5,269. It appears to have ceased trading with no active website.

‘In the few cases where awards remain unpaid, agents are referred to the TPO Compliance Committee, which has the power to expel agents from the scheme. Expelled agents are reported to the appropriate authorities who have the power to ban agents from carrying out agency business,’ said Gerry Fitzjohn, non-executive director and chairman of TPO’s Finance Committee.

‘If TPO becomes aware that an agent under investigation has ceased trading, complainants are promptly informed and, where an award is made, are provided with the necessary documentation to make a claim against that company,’ he added.