The complaint raised concerned the Agent's failure to continue to notify the Guarantor of rent arrears that had accrued under the tenancy. He also accused the Agent of failing to notify him when the Landlord decided to put the matter into the hands of her solicitors and of failing to make those solicitors aware of his role by not providing the Deed of Guarantee he had signed. As a result of these shortcomings, the Guarantor argued that he had incurred unnecessary court costs.
It was evident that the Guarantor had been notified on numerous occasions during the tenancy that the Tenants were in arrears, and on each occasion he had contacted the Tenants resulting in the arrears being paid. However, the Agent inexplicably stopped contacting the Guarantor when further arrears arose and he was therefore unaware of how serious the situation was until he was eventually notified that the Tenants were due to be evicted. When instructing solicitors, the Agent had also failed to disclose that there was a guarantor for the tenancy. I observed that, whilst the Guarantor was unable to prevent the Tenants from being evicted, he did pay off all the rent arrears together with the court costs.
I supported all of the complaints raised concluding that had the Agent continued to inform the Guarantor of the continuing arrears or even made the solicitors' aware of his existence then the Guarantor would have fulfilled his obligations and settled the rent arrears without incurring unnecessary court costs. I made an award of £1,000 which covered the court costs and the avoidable distress, aggravation and inconvenience the Agent’s shortcomings had caused.
In accordance with paragraph 13b of the Code of Practice, all TPO agents must have procedures in place to notify both their client, the tenant and any guarantor in a timely manner, of rent that has become appreciably overdue. The Code also requires TPO agents to take suitable steps to notify rental warranty insurers as necessary.