In this case, the Landlord alleged that three pieces of furniture were lost from her property whilst the Agent was instructed and, although the Agent acknowledged responsibility for their oversight, the parties could not agree on the amount of compensation to be paid.
The Agent acknowledged that, due to a breakdown in communication, their contractor had removed all of the Landlord’s furniture from the property whereas he should have only removed the items that the Tenant had left behind. However, I found that the Agent had calculated the amount of compensation they were prepared to pay by reference to starting
bids and current bids displayed on the eBay auction site for similar items to those lost. I did not consider that this was a precise way in which to value the items. However, in the absence of any other method of valuing the items, I pointed out that the selling prices or ‘buy it now’ prices (taking into account the varying postage and packaging rates) would give a more accurate reflection of the true market value of a second hand item.
In view of the Agent’s acknowledgement of their error in allowing the items to be removed, I supported the complaint. I also pointed out that the Landlord was entitled to be put into the position she was in before the error occurred. I, therefore, directed Agent to pay compensation using the ‘buy it now’ prices to establish the financial loss to the Landlord. Overall, I made an Award of £250 which also included an amount for the aggravation and inconvenience caused to the Landlord.
If an error has occurred, this should be acknowledged at the earliest opportunity. Thereafter, all attempts to resolve the error should made on the basis of putting the disadvantaged party into the position they were before the error occurred. If financial loss has occurred, a precise and easily substantiated way of establishing recompense should be used.