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Agencies expelled from TPO

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Rogue agents fined over £1.2m

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Six agencies expelled from TPO

Monday 12 August 2019

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has recently expelled six agents who failed to comply with parts of the TPO Codes of Practice and have not paid 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 with all complaints against the agents in relation to lettings work.

TPO has said that agents (and their directors) which have ceased trading and been expelled from TPO will not be accepted for redress until awards are paid.

Agents who trade without belonging to a redress scheme are trading illegally.

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.”

Redress scheme guidance

  • Make sure that your business is signed up with an approved redress scheme for the correct line of work (sales, lettings or property management work).
  • Review your existing terms of agreement/membership to ensure your redress scheme covers the full activities of the business.
  • Check the terms of agreement/membership to confirm if your business is required to pay membership for individual branches.
  • As of 1 April 2019, letting and property management agents in the private rented sector are required to belong to a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme if holding client money. 

Propertymark CMP resources and further information

A detailed and comprehensive Fact Sheet can be accessed in the Member’s Area. A Client Money Protection (CMP) leaflet can be downloaded to send to your clients and hard copies are available from our online shop too.

The Government has approved CMP schemes for letting and property management agents in the private rented sector, and they include:

RoPA report recommendations

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) released a report on the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA) proposing a new regulatory framework to cover estate agents across the UK and letting and managing agents in England only.

Propertymark has long called for Government intervention to ensure everyone in the industry is licensed, adheres to a strict code of practice and holds at least a Level 3 qualification (the level equivalent to an A-level). It offers huge potential to stamp out bad practice and raise professional standards.

There are substantial changes ahead which will require agents to start preparing to ensure they are well placed for when the proposed qualification and regulatory requirements are introduced.

The working group's announcement is good news for raising professional standards in the industry. The focus of is to get all practising agents on the path to qualification and comply with the regulations. Register to have regular updates on the recommendations in an easy to understand framework.

Register