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The Property Ombudsman expels agents for failing to pass on rent

Friday 25 October 2019

Lettings agents in Kent, Essex and North London have been expelled by The Property Ombudsman for failing to pay landlords what they are owed.

Kingsman Property, in Ilford, Essex, was expelled for failing to pay a landlord £14,921. The landlord, who had entered a Guaranteed Rental Income Scheme with Kingsman Property, originally complained to The Property Ombudsman (TPO) that the agent had failed to pass on rent owed to him, which had been paid by the tenant. Rent had been received for eight months, but it then stopped and the landlord dis-instructed Kingsman Property.

The agent, who owed the landlord £12,000 in rent, went into administration. TPO made an award of £14,921.23, for unpaid rent, the deposit and £1,500 for the aggravation and distress. Kingsman Property failed to pay the award and was expelled from TPO.

In, Kent, Chambers Estates Kent was expelled following a report from a landlord that he was owed three months’ rent, again paid by the tenant but not passed on. The agent did not respond to this, or to a solicitor’s letter. TPO supported the complaint and awarded the landlord £2,376 for rent due and £400 for connected aggravation and complaint handling failures. 

TPO then referred the agent to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, after Chambers Estates failed to pay the award. The independent committee ruled that the firm should be expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme.

In North London, Assetgrove Prime Sales & Lettings (trading as Assetgrove Prime) owed a landlord £1,820.50. The landlord made a complaint to TPO that the agent did not pass on the final month’s rent and failed to compensate him for a new cooker which was missing at the end of the tenancy. 

The landlord had raised the issue with Assetgrove Prime, but the employee he dealt with stopped responding. The agent denied that the tenancy was anything to do with them, claiming the employee worked for another agency.

Without an inventory, it was difficult to prove the issue with the cooker. However, it was clear that the landlord was owed 25 days’ rent. TPO made an award of £1,820.50, which Assetgrove Prime failed to pay, and they were expelled. 

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