Key Lettings and Property Management Expelled from The Property Ombudsman for Failure to Fulfil Award

Published on Monday, 25 March 2024. Posted in Press Releases

Key Lettings and Property Management, based in Kent, has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) following their failure to comply with an adjudicated award totalling £3,100.

This expulsion comes as a result of Key Lettings and Property Management's negligence in resolving a complaint filed by a landlord, where several breaches of best practice were identified.

The complaint encompassed a range of issues, including failure to register deposits, outstanding rent, failure to provide relevant documents to a new letting agent, and a lack of response to the complaint. These grievances paint a picture of systematic disregard for professional standards and landlord-tenant obligations.

  1. Failure to register deposits Key Lettings and Property Management’s failure to comply with best practices, including neglecting to register two deposits and allowing the misuse of deposit funds for rent without evidence, left both properties without security deposits. This disregard for professional standards not only exposed the landlord to potential legal consequences but also underscored the agent's negligence in fulfilling their responsibilities, as highlighted by the Ombudsman’s Adjudicator.
  2. Outstanding rent The agent retained the last rental payment for one property due to a failure to deduct their commission fee from rental payments over the six-year management period. The Ombudsman’s Adjudicator criticised the agent for not providing regular account statements as per best practice guidelines and for failing to promptly notify the landlord of any outstanding amounts owed. The agent did not provide any evidence of the fees said to be owed by the landlord and as such was directed to pay £1,000 in outstanding rent to the complainant landlord.
  3. Failure to provide relevant documents to new letting agent Despite repeated requests from the landlord and the new letting agent, the agent failed to provide the new letting agent with the relevant documents relating to both tenancies.
  4. Lack of response to complaint Key Lettings and Property Management exhibited a lack of responsiveness by failing to acknowledge or address the formal complaint lodged by the landlord. The agent also failed to provide a copy of the complaint response or final viewpoint letter when requested by The Property Ombudsman.

In total, the awarded compensation amounted to £2,000, with an additional directive to pay £1,100 to the newly instructed letting agent for a security deposit, totalling £3,100. Despite an initial partial payment of £1,000 and a subsequent instalment of £1000, Key Lettings and Property Management since refused to pay the remaining £1,100 designated for the security deposit.

Key Lettings and Property Management was referred to TPO’s Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from The Property Ombudsman scheme.  

Rebecca Marsh, The Property Ombudsman, said: "I'm pleased to note that only one agent has been expelled from the scheme this quarter, reflecting the generally high standards of professionalism upheld by agents. However, the expulsion of this agent from TPO serves as a cautionary message for others who neglect their duty of care to consumers and fail to fulfil awards made.”

As part of TPO’s compliance process, notification of this expulsion has been shared with all relevant bodies, including both local and national Trading Standards for further investigation, as well as all property portals.

The memorandum of understanding between TPO and the Property Redress Scheme prevents agents from registering with the other scheme until outstanding awards have been paid to consumers.


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Notes to the editor:

What is The Property Ombudsman?

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) offers an independent and impartial dispute resolution service to consumers who have been unable to resolve their disputes with a registered property business. 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 a range of directions to put the consumer back in the position they would have been in but for the shortcomings of a registered agent. This may include awarding compensation for aggravation, distress or inconvenience and/or for financial loss.


Whilst TPO charges registered agents an annual subscription, the Ombudsman is accountable to the independent 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 business. However, registered businesses 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.

Further information

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 (, together with previous annual 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