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Agencies expelled from TPO

Thursday 19 September 2019

Shoreditch based estate agent Chase & Co UK Ltd, (trading as Chase & Co UK) and Isle of Dogs based estate agent, Property 24/7 have been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO).

 A complaint was brought to TPO by a landlord who said Chase & Co UK owed him a fee refund and rent which had been paid by the tenant but not passed on.

The landlord paid an upfront fee to Chase & Co UK but his tenant vacated 7 months early and so it was agreed that he was entitled to a refund of 7 months’ fees.

The Ombudsman said Chase & Co UK had failed to provide a service consistent with fairness, integrity and best practice supported the complaint and awarded the landlord £8,319.41 to cover the return of the agent’s fee, the missing rent, the court fee, and an additional £800 for the avoidable aggravation caused.

Tenants made a complaint to The Property Ombudsman stating that Property24/7 had failed to register their deposit with a deposit protections scheme within 30 days, did not communicate with the landlord over the tenants’ requirements for furnishings and pre-tenancy repairs and failed to respond to their communications.

The Ombudsman supported all three elements of the case and made an award of £500.

Both agencies failed to pay the award and The Ombudsman referred the agent to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled the firm should be expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme.

Both agencies are not currently registered with a redress scheme, which is a requirement of every sales and letting agent in order to trade legally. They also do no not appear to be a member of a Client Money Protection scheme, also a legal requirement, do not have any professional memberships or advertise on the any of the main property portals, OnTheMarket, Rightmove and Zoopla. The agents have been referred to trading standards.

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.

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Propertymark aims to protect and guide consumers helping them get to grips with what’s expected regarding landlord responsibilities, we have outlined the main reasons why people should use an ARLA Propertymark agent in our guide:

Why use an ARLA Propertymark Protected letting agent?