Tenant slams trade organisation and agent following Tribunal

Trade organisation's adjudication panel confirms that Mishantha Liyanage, boss of agency Student Haus in Salford, has had his membership cancelled after a BBC investigation into management of a property his firm manages.

salford hmo propertymark student haus letting agent

A letting agent whose firm was investigated by the BBC’s You and Yours radio programme after complaints about the management of a student HMO it looks after has lost his appeal against his Propertymark membership being cancelled.

Mishantha Liyanage, whose letting agency Student Haus manages the semi-detached property in Peel Mount, Salford (main picture), had appealed the suspension following an initial decision in December last year.

It found that Liyanage, as a now former member of Propertymark, had breached its Code of Conduct several times including his team forging one person’s signature on a waiver form which, the company at the time claimed to the BBC, proved the tenants had been aware of the property’s poor state of repair before they moved in.

The adjudication panel also said it believed he had breached Consumer Protection Law when advertising the property.

Read the full adjudication.

Liyanage was suspended but appealed the decision and, it has been confirmed, now lost that appeal although Liyanage has told the BBC he resigned. He has been allowed to re-apply for membership in 12 months’ time, “dependent upon changed and improved practices”, the appeal statement says.

Within the original adjudication he was fined £5,000 and told to pay costs totalling £2,218.


The case began after one of the Salford HMO tenants, Finn Hefferan, deciding to go public after he and his friends (main picture, inset) found the property to missing basic safety features and hat it was in need of remedial work including the replacement of a boarded-up window.

He, backed up by his mother Naomi, attempted to get the property’s defects fixed but instead faced resistance from Liyanage to meet their demands, they claimed.

Good condition

Following both the BBC and Propertymark probes and an enforcement notice from the local council, the HMO has been improved and, Liyanage says, is now ‘in very good condition’.

But Naomi Hefferman has subsequently criticised Propertymark’s tribunal process for taking six months to complete, and that the December 2023 adjudication statement had “talked about… how [the case] had been broadcast and how that had brought Propertymark into disrepute… rather than the wrongdoing itself”, she told the BBC. “I found that quite disconcerting”.

Naomi went on to say that she wanted to see Propertymark show greater support in future for people like her son who have faced poor conduct by its members.

Liyanage has released a statement saying that his company has now implemented “robust standard operating procedures that must be strictly adhered to by all employees” and that he has resigned his membership of Propertymark.

Robust rebuttal

The agency boss has also contacted The Neg and submitted a line-by-line rebuttal of Propertymark’s tribunal findings, including a rejection of the appeal commentary, saying that: “The decision to cancel my membership due to being the director of Student-Haus Limited… and the associated fines are perceived as inequitable and disproportionately influenced by external factors unrelated to the actual matters at hand.

“Despite these adversities, our dedication to upholding the highest standards in property management is unwavering.

“We are actively exploring all possible avenues to appeal the decision via the court system and vindicate our standing on this matter It is my hope that this detailed response [submitted to the Neg] sheds light on the situation and underscores the diligent efforts we have made to address and rectify the concerns raised.

“As an organisation, we are committed to learning from every experience good or bad. In light of recent events at 11 Peel Mount, we have implemented robust standard operating procedures that must be strictly adhered to by all employees.

“These measures are designed to prevent any deviation from established protocols and to ensure the highest standards of operation across Student Haus.

“Finally the current student tenants including [those at] 11 Peel Mount are leaving our properties in five/six weeks’ time, and new student tenants will be moving in between July and September. I am hopeful this time we will have a smooth transition.”

Propertymark response

In response to the latest BBC Your and Yours Update, a Propertymark spokesperson says: “Our independent compliance and disciplinary process gathered evidence impartially from all parties involved to empower our Disciplinary Panel to reach its conclusion – with the outcome available on our website.

“We are proud that we were able to bring independent recourse based on the evidence which was provided. We must however be extremely respectful towards some of the wider factors highlighted by the BBC and that sit firmly outside the scope and remit of any professional membership body.

“It is imperative we remain mindful that open discussion may cause undue influence should some of the issues contained within the broadcast progress further.”

Listen to the You & Yours programme in full.

Pic credit: BBC/Google Streetview

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