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Agency excluded from TPO and PRS after failing to return £250 holding fee

Legra Homes Ltd in Southend, Essex fails to pay back fee to potential buyer after closing down, but sole director has now co-founded another company in the area.

Nigel Lewis

legra homes

The regular quarterly clutch of agents excluded by The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for non-payment of awards has shrunk to just one firm between January to March.

Southend-on-Sea, Essex sales agency Legra Homes Ltd, which used to be called Abode Real Estate Ltd, has been excluded after failing to pay an award of £250.

This followed an investigation by TPO after a potential buyer complained that there was a substantial delay in their ‘commitment fee’ being returned after the seller withdrew from the proposed sale.

Legra Homes Ltd did not deny being aware of the seller pulling out and did not return the fee immediately.

But the company also did not provide any evidence to TPO about the case and, consequently, it was unable to determine what instructions were given when taking the commitment deposit.

£250 compensation

Without agreed terms in writing the Ombudsman supported the complaint and awarded £250 in compensation, in addition to the full deposit being refunded.

The company is no longer trading. All emails bounce back and Google states that it’s permanently closed. There are no active listings on Zoopla, Rightmove or OnTheMarket and its accounts are now overdue at Companies House.

But its sole director Jack Blows subsequently registered a new firm, this time with the Property Redress Scheme (PRS), Coastal Homes LOS Ltd.

The memorandum of understanding between TPO and other redress schemes prevents agents from registering with another scheme until outstanding awards have been paid to consumers. The PRS has confirmed to The Neg that it has excluded  Coastal Homes LOS Ltd from its scheme. Without membership of a redress scheme, it cannot trade legally as an estate agent.

Legra Homes Ltd failed to pay the award made and was therefore referred to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from TPO’s scheme.

April 8, 2022

One comment

  1. High-time we cleared out the crooks from the industry who are tarnishing the PRS.
    He’ll probably set up another company in a family members name – but in practical terms, continue to operate it.
    The Ombudsman isn’t effective at all.

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