ARLA Propertymark has removed a rogue agent from its website listings who was featured earlier this week in BBC Inside Out investigation.
Within the programme on Monday, Truro letting agent Premier Property Management run by Elizabeth Ann Treneer (pictured, left) was accused of owing more than £35,000 to seven landlords and nine tenants.
The programme featured interviews with tenant Hannah Sinfield about her attempts to recoup a £775 deposit, and a landlord who was owed £4,2000 even though the Property Ombudsman ruled in his favour.
ARLA says Treneer was a member until 2014 when her membership was terminated after she failed to provide the necessary financial documents for membership. This is most probably for a lack of client account reporting, given the BBC investigation.
“She was then subsequently involved in formal action for using the ARLA logo without being a member in 2015/2016,” says David Cox, ARLA Property mark chief executive (pictured, right).
Cox says that despite her membership being terminated, Treneer’s company remained an APIP member – now called ARLA Inventories – because conducting inventories does not involve handling clients’ funds.
“In light of the BBC investigation, disciplinary action was begun and she has been suspended from ARLA Inventories, pending the outcome of our investigation,” he says.
Cox also used the case as an example of why Client Money Protection should be made mandatory and that a lack of this “highlights very clearly that there is a two-tiered market,” he says. “Even when a letting agent is expelled from ARLA, they can continue practising. If Client Money Protection was mandatory, these landlords and tenants would not be out of pocket.”
Treneer, who is also facing a Trading Standards investigation, told reporter Jemma Woodman that the funds owed were ‘safe and sound’ and that she promised to pay everyone back.