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Purplebricks told to pay tenants compensation after maintenance failings

TPO finds against the hybrid agency for failing to pass on maintenance requests to a landlord and appearing to ignore email from tenants requesting action.

Nigel Lewis

Purplebricks has been ordered to pay a tenant £250 in compensation after being found to have twice contravened a key paragraph within The Property Ombudsman (TPO) Code of Practice. It has also been criticised by the ombudsman for not providing key documents despite multiple requests to do so.

The case followed a complaint by two unnamed tenants living at a property near Solihull in the West Midlands about an alleged failure of maintenance and communication by Purplebricks after they moved into their home early last year.

Prior to moving into it the tenants were reassured by Purplebricks, which has its national HQ nearby, that several maintenance issues including damp on the wall, a hole in the same wall and a damaged shower head would be fixed.

But it is assumed by TPO that the agency did not tell their landlord client that work was needed to fix the problems as no remedial work was completed, a direct contravention of Paragraph 14b of the TPO code.

TPO code

This requires that agents must respond promptly and appropriately in the circumstances to reasonable communications from landlords and tenants particularly when it’s about maintenance or repairs.

Several attempts at chasing Purplebricks were made but six months then passed during which the agency failed to do anything.

TPO says it is unable to know if Purplebricks tried to respond to the maintenance issues in a timely manner because it has not provided any evidence to the ombudsman to support its case.

The tenants were at one point offered £237.50 as a goodwill issue by Purplebricks but this was rejected by the tenants, who instead asked that the rent they had so far paid by then – £6,300 – be paid as compensation instead.

Following the TPO judgement one of the tenants took to Twitter to vent their anger at the £250 award and the service they had received from Purplebricks.

October 2, 2019

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