As part of a dispute arising from additional and unauthorised work carried out by a gardener at the property, Mr A, the tenant, raised a number of complaints against the Agent, one of which was that the Agent had falsely claimed membership of a wellknown trade body.
I noted that the Agent was using the logo of the trade body on their letterheads and on their website. Furthermore, I observed that Mr A had referred his complaints to the trade body who had responded stating that the Agent was not a member. The Agent themselves did not respond to this element of Mr A’s complaint.
It was clear that the Agent was not a member of the trade body concerned and I considered that their use of the logo led Mr A to unnecessarily expend time and effort in pursuing his issues with that body. I supported this complaint along with a number of other issues and made an overall award of £200. I also reminded both parties I am not a regulator of the industry and hence have no power to fine or otherwise punish agents, only provide compensation for actual financial loss and/or avoidable distress, aggravation and inconvenience where I consider it appropriate in the circumstances.
Under Paragraph 1c of the TPO Code of Practice, letting agents are required to always act within the law and avoid any banned or misleading practices as defined under the CPRs. Claiming membership of a trade body when not actively a member is a defined banned practice under the CPRs.