Three estate agencies have been booted out of The Property Ombudsman scheme after failing to pay substantial awards owed to both tenants and landlords following disputes.
The trio are Cambridgeshire letting agency Let365co Ltd (trading as 365 Residential), JBE London Limited and Chew Valley Estates in Bristol.
Each of the estate agencies has been accused of multiple breaches of TPO codes of practice when dealing with both tenants and landlords and, following their expulsion from TPO and subsequent loss of redress cover, will be unable to trade.
Arguably the most shocking of the three expulsions is Chew Valley Estates based in Winford, Bristol which withheld rent from a landlord totalling £4,800 and then failed to return a security deposit to the outgoing tenants. It also omitted to tell the landlord about an offer to purchase the property from the tenants.
TPO instructed the agency to pay the landlord the withheld rent along with £400 for the aggravation and, despite a payment plan being agreed, no payments were ever made.
The dispute is not the only time Chew Valley Estates has crossed swords with TPO. Two weeks ago, the case of a couple who rented out their home through the agency was investigated by local media after it was threatened with expulsion unless the company repaid £7,500 owed to the couple.
After reporters from a local paper contacted the firm, the payment was made. Chew Valley Estates no longer lists properties for sale or rent on Rightmove or Zoopla and its website is down.
The other two expulsions are JBE London Limited based in East London which refused to return a re-letting fee of £2,810 and Soham agency Let365.co.uk, which only paid part of an award due to a landlord who complained about the poor management of his 19-property portfolio.
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