The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has expelled another five agents from its redress scheme after kicking out six last month, an unusually high number of expulsions over such a short period.
According to its own list, TPO has now excluded or expelled more agents this year than it has over the past two preceding years.
This is likely to be down to a general increase in TPO members recently – and therefore cases – helped by the the closing of rival Ombudsman Services in August this year.
“2018 to date has seen some 46 cases referred to Compliance Committee where the consumer has not received the award they were due from the Agent,” Peter Habert, Director of Policy, The Property Ombudsman (left) told The Negotiator.
“In 14 of those cases the award was paid following intervention by the Committee. 32, however, have resulted in expulsion because of non-payment. The numbers are already higher than in 2017, when a total of 28 agents were expelled.
“The upward trend is reflective of higher numbers of agents, higher numbers of complaints and difficult market conditions.”
This month’s crop are: A & A Star Estates Ltd based in Finchley, London whose website is no longer live; Jennings & Kent Ltd based near Dartford in Kent and The Drake Lawson Ltd trading as Alexander Reed based in Isleworth, which has been given an extension to an existing expulsion. Its only branch has now closed, and reviews of the business on AllAgents and other sites are overwhelmingly negative about its staff and service.
The two other expelled firms are Blackhorse Property Management Ltd in Bradford which is in the process of being struck off and dissolved according to Companies House, and Joseph Properties Ltd in Burnley, which yesterday dissolved itself via a voluntary strike-off.
TPO’s list of expelled agents is a moveable feast. Even though agents are listed on it, if they later pay a contested award then they can be readmitted to the scheme and have their names removed.