A sales and lettings agent in Porth Wales, The Property Dragon Limited, has been excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay an outstanding award of £1,180.
The company has been dissolved and removed from Companies House but it appears it could now be trading as Property Solutions Wales Porth. Consumers are being warned about this possible connection and potential risk.
The Property Dragon Limited failed to pay a £1,180 compensatory award in relation to a complaint from a landlord who had several issues with their management service, breaching numerous aspects of the Codes of Practice. TPO criticised them for their actions which left the landlord responsible for the tenant’s water usage and with unpaid rent.
Although an award was unlikely to be secured due to the agency no longer trading, a full review and judgement was given. An award of £1,180 was made in compensation, comprising an award of £850 for aggravation and £330 to cover costs incurred.
The Property Dragon Limited failed to pay the award as well as direction from TPO to return the property keys. They also failed to pay their renewal fees resulting in their TPO membership being ceased.
The Ombudsman referred them to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from The Property Ombudsman scheme.
Despite The Property Dragon Limited being dissolved and no longer trading, TPO has discovered a potential link with Property Solutions Wales Porth as well as another previously excluded agency.
As part of TPO’s process, notification of this expulsion has been shared with all relevant bodies, including both Local and National Trading Standards. The landlord has also been advised to seek independent legal advice and information has been provided to assist in alternative action.
Gerry Fitzjohn, Non-Executive Director and Chairman of TPO’s Finance Committee: “As a member of TPO, agents are obliged to fulfil direction and comply with awards made by the Ombudsman, which The Property Dragon Limited failed to do. It appears that there is a connection with another agency that is still actively trading, so this is a warning to all consumers in the local Porth area.
We would like to remind consumers to ensure they always use an agent which is a member of a redress scheme (The Property Ombudsman or The Property Redress Scheme) and holds Client Money Protection*.”
N.B. Every sales and lettings agent in England is required to register with a Government-approved redress scheme, which enables consumers to have their complaint reviewed independently in the event of a dispute arising that the consumer is unable to resolve with the agent directly.
*Full list of Client Money Protection schemes, is:
Money Shield, Client Money Protect, safeagent Client Money Protection, Propertymark, RICS, UKALA Client Money Protection
For press information, please contact:
The Inhouse Way
Tel: 01276 804411
Helen Evison: 07920 516 577
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.
Awards made by the Ombudsman in 2018 were paid by agents to consumers in 97% of cases. 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. TPO’s 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 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