The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has made further expulsions after six agents failed to comply with parts of the TPO Codes of Practice and pay 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. Once again, all of the complaints against the agents were in relation to lettings work.
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:
- Citi Places Management Ltd (trading as Citi Places Management) based in East London
- Unpaid award of £3,400 (active website but no properties advertised)
- Elite Properties Essex Ltd (trading as Elite Properties) based in Grays, Essex
- Unpaid award of £200 (appears to have ceased trading with no active website)
- Pinkmove Lettings Newport Limited, (trading as Pinkmove Lettings Limited) based in Newport, Wales
- Unpaid award of £5000
- PM Premier Limited (trading as PM Premier Ltd) based in Redhill, North Somerset
- 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
- 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
- Unpaid award of £5,269 (Appears to have ceased trading with no active website)
Gerry Fitzjohn, Non-Executive Director and Chairman of TPO’s Finance Committee: “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.
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.”
For press information, please contact:
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Holly Addinall: 07979 537 334
NOTES TO EDITOR:
What is The Property Ombudsman?
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme offers an independent and impartial dispute resolution service to consumers who have been unable to resolve their disputes with a registered agent. The scheme was established in 1990. The Ombudsman can provide redress to place the consumer back in the position they were before the complaint arose, achieving a full and final settlement of the dispute and all claims made by either party. Where appropriate, the Ombudsman can make compensatory awards in individual cases up to a maximum of £25,000 for actual and quantifiable loss and/or for aggravation, distress and/or inconvenience caused by the actions of a registered agent.
TPO is funded through membership subscriptions and case fees and is free to all consumers.
At 31 December 2018 over 15,897 sales offices and 14,746 letting offices were registered with TPO.
Whilst TPO charges registered agents an annual subscription, the Ombudsman is accountable to the TPO Board which is chaired by a member of the House of Lords and with the majority of its members being independent from the industry.
The Ombudsman is not a regulator and does not have the authority to take regulatory or legal action against a registered agent. However, registered agents can be referred to the TPO Compliance Committee, which has the power to expel agents from the scheme and/or report them to the appropriate authorities, with the power to ban agents from carrying out estate agency business.
The Ombudsman's Terms of Reference, Codes of Practice, Consumer Guides and other documents about the operation of the scheme are available on our website (www.tpos.co.uk), together with previous annual and interim reports, case summaries, further explanation of governance arrangements and a full list of registered agents.
For more information about TPO, please visit our website at www.tpos.co.uk