Posts with tag: estate agent

Letting Agent Expelled from The Property Ombudsman after Failing to Pay Award

Published On: August 24, 2017 at 8:20 am

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A sales and letting agent in southwest London has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme for a year after failing to pay an award to a complainant.

Premier Moves Management Limited (PMM) did not pay the £4,900 award, as instructed by TPO, so the case was referred to TPO’s Disciplinary & Standards Committee (DSC), which ruled that the firm should be expelled from TPO.

Letting Agent Expelled from The Property Ombudsman after Failing to Pay Award

Letting Agent Expelled from The Property Ombudsman after Failing to Pay Award

Landlords and tenants are being warned that the firm may still be trading illegally, as its website is still live with both for sale and to let properties, even though the office is shut and the agent does not appear to be registered with Rightmove or Zoopla.

The complainants said that they received a poor service from PMM, with “promises made and not kept” and poor communication; PMM was not contactable during office hours.

The specific complaints were that PMM failed to:

  • Pay over rental money received
  • Advise about Council Tax and whether it should have been accounted for in the rent
  • Confirm whether a deposit was taken, the amount and where it was registered
  • Effectively manage the property, citing a lack of tenancy agreements, updates about renewed tenancy agreements and failure to conduct regular inspections
  • Advise the complainants about changes to lettings of which PMM were aware

TPO investigated each issue and upheld the complaints. PMM had already agreed it owed £3,600 in rent received. TPO then directed PMM to transfer all rent monies owed by this point (£4,350) to the complainants. In addition to this, a £500 award of compensation was made. The total award was £4,900.

TPO, Katrine Sporle, comments: “My investigation found the agent had failed to ensure rent was passed on to the complainants (landlords) promptly, and considered this caused the complainants aggravation, distress and inconvenience. The agent agreed, in writing, that the amount owed to the complainants would be fully paid to them in 28 days, but the agent failed to make any payment, so the case was referred to the DSC.”

All members of TPO are obliged to comply with awards made by TPO and are also obliged to co-operate with investigations. PMM also voluntarily agreed to abide by the Code of Practice.

PMM did offer to pay by installments following TPO’s decision, but the complainants refused this. However, no further offer or any payment on account was made after that.

The DSC therefore considered this a serious and flagrant breach of PMM’s obligations under the Membership Deed. In view of that, the DSC concluded that PMM should be expelled and excluded from membership of TPO and from registration for redress for one year.

This means that PMM will, for that period, no longer be registered with TPO for lettings redress, as required by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, and could not operate as a sales agent, as redress registration is also required by Section 23A of the Estate Agents Act 1979.

The Chairman of TPO’s Board, Gerry Fitzjohn, says: “We set high standards for agents – the scheme’s approved Code of Practice goes above and beyond the letter of the law, requiring agents to offer additional safeguards to protect consumers. This firm will no longer be able to trade as a result of this expulsion, and we urge any consumers that suspect the firm is trading to contact Trading Standards, who have been notified of PMM’s expulsion.”

Every sales and letting agent in England is required to register with a Government-approved redress scheme, which enables consumers to have their complaint reviewed independently in the event of a dispute.

An agreement between the three Government-approved redress schemes means that PMM will not be able to register for any form of redress until the award is paid. Redress registration is required for the agent to trade legally.

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London Estate Agent Offering the Chance to Sell your Property for Free

Published On: August 22, 2017 at 8:06 am

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London Estate Agent Offering the Chance to Sell your Property for Free

London Estate Agent Offering the Chance to Sell your Property for Free

As it now costs an average of over £9,000 to sell your property in London, one estate agent is offering you the chance to sell your property for free!

Portico London estate agent has created the Portico Property Quiz to help one lucky winner beat extortionate fees.

Those who enter the quiz and score 80% or higher will automatically be entered into a prize draw, with one lucky person winning a 0% fee and a £100 John Lewis voucher.

The majority of the questions are general property knowledge, from the average time it takes to sell a London property to Stamp Duty calculations to a guess-the-price picture round.

The agent has launched the competition at a time when Londoners have to find an average of £9,244 in estate agent fees to sell their properties. This is a huge 414% more than 20 years ago, when the average estate agent fee in the capital was £1,797.

The Managing Director of Portico, Robert Nichols, says: “Everybody wants a quick and easy property sale. Unfortunately, in this market, the time it takes to sell a home can vary greatly, depending on how you sell it and who you sell it with.

“At Portico, we offer a range of unique services to maximise the sale price achieved, from home staging and free handyman work, to an Airbnb management service that enables vendors to earn until their property sells.”

He adds: “We’re excited to be offering one lucky homeowner the chance to sell for free, potentially saving tens of thousands of pounds in estate agent fees. Fancy yourself a bit of a property expert? Take our quiz! https://www.portico.com/blog/our-news/sell-your-home-for-free!

The full terms and conditions can be found here: https://www.portico.com/blog/our-news/sell-your-home-for-free-tcs

If you’re looking to sell your property in the capital, we hope that you beat the fees and manage to win this great prize!

ICA-JL-VOTE-FOR-US

Agent who Conned Tenants Out of Deposits is Jailed

Published On: May 6, 2016 at 10:03 am

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A former estate agent who conned student tenants out of deposit money has been jailed.

Barinder Uppal, who worked for Reeds Rains in Coventry, conned overseas students and a man wanting to buy a property into paying deposits for housing that he could not offer them.

Uppal, 29, who allegedly turned up to property viewings in a Bentley, placed advertisements for the student accommodation online.

He would then arrange viewings before taking deposits from the students, some of whom were offered the same properties.

Prosecuting, Paul Dhami said: “All bar one were students who had come to study in the UK, so English was their second language and therefore there was a degree of vulnerability because he appeared to be bona fide.

“Some described him arriving in a white Bentley, giving the impression of being a successful businessman.”1 

Uppal made a total of £13,560 from the scam. He had already been given a conditional discharge for fraud in 2014.

After complaints were made to the police, Uppal said he had carried out the fraudulent activity to fund a gambling habit. He then lost his job.

The court was told that Uppal had only worked for Reeds Rains for six months, and is now going to Gamblers Anonymous.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano jailed him for one year, after rejecting a defence argument that if he was given a suspended sentence, he could pay back the stolen funds with the help of his family.

The judge stated: “I don’t see why your family should bail you out – and this is not the sort of offence you can buy your way out of. There must be a custodial sentence that will be immediate.

“The message must go out that someone who uses their position to defraud vulnerable people in this way must go to custody.”1

There will now be a Proceeds of Crime hearing.

1 http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/overseas-students-conned-out-thousands-11289948

Estate agent slams trading standards CPR

Published On: September 14, 2015 at 11:45 am

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Categories: Landlord News

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A high street estate agent has slammed the newest communication to the industry on Consumer Protection Regulations, branding it as a, ‘complete mess,’ and, ‘nothing short of ridiculous.’

Criticism

Jonathan Newell, director of SalesBoards Estate Agents in Exeter, believes that his company’s situation shows the extent of the issues with the publication. ‘We pride ourselves on being open and honest with our fees, but the new legislation now states that our fees have to be advertised inclusive of VAT,’ he said.[1]

‘Since VAT was introduced in 1973, agents fees have always been quoted exclusive of VAT and that is what the public have become used to. So our usual fee of 1.25% plus VAT now has to be advertised at 1.5% including VAT, which in my mind makes a very competitive fee sound no better than typical,’ he added.[1]

Estate agent slams trading standards CPR

Estate agent slams trading standards CPR

Avoidance

Mr Newell went on to say that SalesBoards, like many other firms, has decided to try and dispel any confusion by removing any reference to fees from its adverts and publications.

He noted that, ‘a quick browse of last week’s local newspaper revealed that only one out of 23 agents included details of their fees in their adverts.’[1]

‘Given that the Consumer Protection Regulations are supposed to make things better rather than worse for the consumer, it seems they may have fallen short of achieving their intended goal,’ Newell concluded.[1]

[1] https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2015/9/agent-says-trading-standards-cpr-guidance-is-a-complete-mess

 

Estate Agent Has Redesign After 25 Years

Published On: August 14, 2015 at 10:05 am

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Estate Agent Has Redesign After 25 Years

Estate Agent Has Redesign After 25 Years

Countrywide brand, John D Wood & Co, has had a company redesign after 25 years.

The estate agent boards feature a larger John D Wood logo and have space for additional information, such as local events and sponsorships.

Richard Page, the firm’s Marketing Director, says it was “incredible but true” that John D Wood used the old boards for a whole 25 years.1

The redesigned boards accompany a new office design that is being rolled out across the branch network.

Will the next redesign be in 2040?!

1 http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/redesign-launches-for-all-john-d-wood-offices/