13:56 PM, 30th March 2012, About 12 years ago 2
Letting agent Helen Gregory has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme after a rent row with a buy to let landlord client.
Her firm Beechwood Property Portfolio, in Bakewell, Derbyshire, was dumped from the scheme after failing to resolve a dispute with the landlord over persistent late rent payments.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) disciplinary and standards council expelled the agency in February, after writing to the firm with no response – and is outraged the website is still illegally displaying consumer protection logos.
The TPO states the landlord has obtained a county court judgment (CCJ) for £2,176, covering £976 in unpaid rents, against the firm.
The judge was told Beechwood Property Portfolio also failed to pay rent on time for 12 months out of 19.
Gregory claims she has had no correspondence from the TPO and suggested any post may have gone to the firm’s old offices, which were shut in January.
She also said she had not been informed the company had a CCJ.
“It goes without saying we’ll pay anything we owe,” she said. “But I know nothing about either of these things, but I’ll check to see if the paperwork has gone to our old offices.”
The landlord also complained to The Property Ombudsman (TPO), who delayed acting while court action to recoup the debt went ahead.
The TPO says Gregory failed to co-operate with the investigation and broke rules by not having a complaints system for clients.
The TPO also said that while Beechwood Property Portfolio is illegally displaying the redress scheme logos for both sales and lettings on a web site, it is not registered with an approved redress scheme as required under the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007.
Gerry Fitzjohn, chief operating officer of TPO, said: “Only two weeks ago the ombudsman made a renewed call for all lettings agents to be regulated in the same way as residential sales agents, and when you look at the behaviour of this firm, it’s easy to see why regulation is essential.
“It is not at present compulsory for letting agents to register with a redress scheme and, at the very least, we firmly believe the law should be revised to require this.
“This agency will be reported to the local trading standards team.”