Milton Keynes estate agent expelled from The Property Ombudsman

Published on Thursday, 20 February 2020. Posted in Press Releases

Buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords in Shenley Wood, Milton Keynes, are being warned that a local estate and letting agent, DMF Inventories Ltd (trading as DMF Sales & Lettings), has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme owing a landlord £1,677.

DMF failed to register the landlord’s deposit with DPS, as set out in the tenancy agreement. When the Management Agreement came to an end, DMF also failed to release the tenant’s deposit of £1,377 to enable the landlord to register it.

Following the formal complaint by the landlord to The Property Ombudsman, DMF did not provide their file upon request and no response was received. The Ombudsman made a total award of £1,677, comprising £1377 for the tenant’s deposit and £300 compensation. DMF advised they could not make the full payment and suggested a payment plan, but their accountant then confirmed they could not afford any payment at all.

As a result, DMF was referred to TPO’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled the firm should be expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme.

DMF is not currently registered with a redress scheme, which is a requirement of every sales and letting agent in order to trade legally*.  They had registered with the other redress scheme, Property Redress Scheme (PRS). However, an agreement between the two Government-approved redress schemes means DMF is not allowed to register for any form of redress until the award is paid, therefore they have been removed and Trading Standards have also been informed of the expulsion.  

Gerry Fitzjohn, Non-Executive Director and Chairman of TPO’s Finance Committee: As a member of TPO, agents are obliged to comply with awards made by the Ombudsman, which DMF has failed to do. Although there is little evidence to suggest the agent is still trading, we want to make consumers aware in case DMF Sales and Lettings appears to start trading again. We have advised the landlord of the agent’s status and advised that payment can be pursued in the courts.”

*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.



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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.

Consumer Protection

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.

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 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