Latest TPO updates:

Incorrect Notices

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The landlord, Mrs H, entered into a guaranteed rent arrangement with the Agent. However, following a series of rental payments being missed, Mrs H instructed the Agent to regain possession of the property. After a number of months, Mrs H became concerned about the time being taken and, following a number of her letters not being responded to, raised a complaint.

Holding Deposit and Pre-Tenancy Conditions

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The prospective tenant, Miss F, paid a holding deposit and administration fees to the Agent on the condition that the landlord agreed a break clause which met her employer’s approval. Miss F asserted that an agreement had been reached that if this requirement proved impossible she would get her money back. Unfortunately, following a suitable break clause not being agreed, Miss F withdrew and the Agent stated that they would only refund half of the monies.

Damage Deposit and Rent Arrears

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The Agent had arranged a two year tenancy between the tenant and the landlord, Mr G. By the ninth month the tenant had accrued £6,900 rent arrears and had caused approximately £2,000 worth of damage to the property. Mr G commenced possession proceedings and a Court hearing took place at the tenth month where the judge awarded possession to Mr G together with an order for the rent arrears owed by the tenant. The matter of damages to the property was not considered by the Court. However, unbeknown to Mr G, a few days before the Court hearing, the Agent agreed with the tenant that due to the severe rental arrears the deposit of £1,592.28 would be released in full to cover some of that debt. After being informed of this development, the judge deducted £1,592.28 from the money judgement order for rent arrears awarded to Mr G. Mr G then complained that the Agent’s actions had denied him the opportunity of seeking payment towards the damages via the
tenancy deposit arbitration process and instead, was left with no option but to commence further legal action to recover these monies.

Where is the Holding Deposit Agreement?

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

After the Agent found a potential tenant who wished to move into the property immediately, Mrs E, the landlord, paid the existing tenant £500 to end the tenancy early. She did so on the assumption that the £500 holding deposit received by the Agent from the prospective tenant would mitigate her loss should the new tenancy not proceed. However, following the prospective tenant withdrawing due to personal reasons, the Agent kept the £500 holding deposit.

Reckless Referencing

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Mr and Mrs D were the landlords who had instructed the Agent on a tenant find only basis. Following the Agent undertaking this task and installing the tenants in the property, rental payments stopped and Mr and Mrs D found themselves in the position of having to take legal action to regain possession of the property. Mr and Mrs D referred the dispute to my Office following the conclusion of legal action which had removed the tenants from the property but had left them with a substantial shortfall in rent.

Rats!

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

On the first day of the tenancy, Mr C, the tenant, found that the boiler was not working and
immediately reported the matter to the Agent, explaining that he was unable to live in the property until the problem was fixed. The Agent advised the landlord straight away and arranged for a contractor to attend the property the same day. However, upon investigating the problem the contractor found traces of a rat infestation. The complications in dealing with the two connected issues eventually led to the landlord agreeing to terminate the tenancy with Mr C being refunded his rent and deposit. However, Mr C considered that the Agent could have done more to prevent the situation arising and promptly complained.

Garage Problems

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

After moving into the property, the tenants, Mr and Mrs B, contacted the Agent to advise that they were unable to access the garage. The Agent initially responded telling them where they could find the key. The key was not where they said and upon further questioning at a later date stated that the landlord had informed them that the garage was
not operational and unfit for use. Mr and Mrs B subsequently complained that the property had been incorrectly described to them.

An Inconvenient Convenience

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Shortly after Mr and Mrs A moved into the property they discovered that the landlord, who worked in a neighbouring office, was using the toilet situated in the property. Upon questioning the landlord he advised that his use of the toilet during business hours was a requirement of the let which had been conveyed to the Agent. Mr and Mrs A then raised a
complaint alleging that they had not been informed of this requirement by the Agent prior to agreeing the tenancy and, as such, wished to end the tenancy, demanding the monies they had paid in relation to fees, the deposit and rent to be returned. The Agent argued that Mrs A had been advised during the viewing that the landlord required access to the toilet during his working hours. However, they went on to add that they appreciated Mr and Mrs A’s concerns and, together with the landlord, wished to make them an offer to end the tenancy. Mr and Mrs A refused the offer.

 

OFT Decision Forces TPO Logo Change

Published on Tuesday, 29 January 2013. Posted in Press Releases

The OFT will be ceasing it Consumer Codes Approval Scheme from 1 April. As a result the OFT has withdrawn the right to use it's 'OFT Approved Code' logo from 31 March 2013.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is ceasing its Consumer Codes Approval Scheme from April 1.

Agreement - May/June 12

Published on Tuesday, 08 January 2013. Posted in Media Articles

Unsatisfactory References

After three months of the tenancy the tenant stopped making rental payments and the landlords instigated proceedings to take possession of the property. At the same time the landlords complained that the agent had introduced an unsuitable tenant and sought compensation via TPO.

TPO Expels Two County Durham Firms

Published on Friday, 14 December 2012. Posted in Press Releases

A County Durham lettings agency and an estate agency with the same sole director have been expelled from TPO for flagrant breaches of the Code of Practice and non-payment of the Ombudsman's award.

A County Durham lettings agency, and an estate agency with the same sole director, have been expelled from The Property Ombudsman Scheme (TPO) for a minimum of two years.

TPO Forum Drives New Lettings Industry Debate

Published on Tuesday, 27 November 2012. Posted in Press Releases

Organisations with varied interests in the English lettings industry, including some of the UK's major lettings agents, have met at The House of Lords to discuss improving industry standards.

The event was organised by Lord Richard Best, chairman of the independent council overseeing The Property Ombudsman, following the completion of a report 'Regulating Residential Letting Agents: The Issues and Options' which TPO commissioned from leading academic Professor Michael Ball, of Reading University.

Letting Agency That Kept Rent Money Expelled by Property Ombudsman

Published on Friday, 19 October 2012. Posted in Press Releases

A Bedford lettings agency that kept more than £2,000 rent money due to a landlord has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme.

Town and Country Management Ltd (TCM), of 60, Harpur Street, Bedford, MK40 2QT, owned by Mr L La Mura and with an associate office in Ampthill, had been ordered by the Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, to pay £2,243.52 to a landlord.

Sole Selling Rights

Published on Tuesday, 02 October 2012. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The Sellers had by their account incurred dual fees from the Agent complained of and their previous agent. They had paid the Agent’s commission fee but complained that the Agent was due only 50% of the fee as they had only completed ‘half a job’ of selling the property.

Ready Willing & Able (Case 3)

Published on Tuesday, 02 October 2012. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

In this case the unsuccessful Seller argued that the Buyer introduced by the Agent was not prepared to unconditionally exchange contracts. The Agent’s response was that the signed agency agreement stated that a buyer was ‘ready, willing and able’ if they were prepared and able to unconditionally exchange contracts, which they considered the Buyer was.

Ready Willing & Able (Case 2)

Published on Tuesday, 02 October 2012. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint
The potential Seller complained that the Agent had charged them a commission fee that they were not entitled to as the Buyers introduced could not be considered ‘ready, willing and able’, underlined by the fact that the transaction had not completed.