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Expelled! Agents kicked out by Ombudsman for not paying awards

The Property Ombudsman has announced the expulsion of eight agencies, all for contravening TPO codes of practice.

Most of the expulsions were for lettings offences - typically failing to pay compensation awarded to tenants or landlords by TPO. 

However, two sales agents were expelled:

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SSM2 Limited, trading as Samuel Makepeace Bespoke Estate Agents in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.

In this case the complaint was from a buyer concerning a property advertised as having a third bedroom in the loft space, yet the attic conversion did not comply with regulations. 

A £5,000 compensation award went unpaid; the agency is now in liquidation.

The second case involved Barrington & Blake Estate Agents Ltd, trading as Barrington & Blake Estates in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire.

This involved a complaint from a seller over poor service; a £300 award was left unpaid award and this agent, too, is in liquidation.

The complaints against the respective agents were independently reviewed and upheld by the Ombudsman, who directed payment of the money to those owed, together with compensation in all the cases. 

 

“Cases like these are rare, with only 0.1 per cent of all TPO agents being referred to the Compliance Committee and 98 per cent of agents paying awards that are made. In all of these cases, the agents have not co-operated fully and have failed to pay awards made” explains Gerry Fitzjohn, non-executive director and chairman of TPO’s finance committee.

TPO says that for future cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ombudsman “will be taking into account challenges faced by agents for any complaints received during this period.”

For details of the lettings agents’ expulsions, please see here.

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