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Agent thrown out of ombudsman scheme after failing to pay award

A sales and letting agent in south-west London has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme for a year after the Ombudsman supported a landlord complaint.

Premier Moves Management (PMM) did not pay the award of £4,900 as instructed by the Ombudsman so the case was referred to TPO’s disciplinary and standards committee, which ruled the firm should be expelled from TPO.

Consumers are being warned that the firm might be trading illegally, as it is unable to offer redress – a legal requirement.

TPO yesterday said 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.

Yesterday, EYE got through on the number given, and spoke to some sort of message handling service which said they would try to get through to the firm. We left a message and asked for a call back but heard nothing.

A company called Premier Moves Property Management was last night still displaying the TPO logo.

In the original complaint, the landlords said they received a poor service from PMM with ‘promises made and not kept’ and poor communication, with PMM not being 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 copy tenancy agreements, updates about renewed tenancy agreements and make regular inspection
  • Advise the complainants about changes to lettings of which PMM were aware

The Ombudsman investigated each issue and upheld the complaints. PMM had already agreed it owed £3,600 in rent received.

The Ombudsman directed PMM to transfer all rent monies by then owed to the complainants (£4,350). In addition to this, a £500 award of compensation was made. The total award was £4,900.

Katrine Sporle, Property Ombudsman, said: “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.”

According to the TPO disciplinary committee, Premier Moves Management Limited did make an offer to pay by instalments following the Ombudsman’s decision but this was refused by the complainants. However, no further offer or any payment on account was made after that.

The committee considered this a serious and flagrant breach and concluded that Premier Moves Management should be expelled and excluded from membership of TPO and from registration for redress for one year.

This means that Premier Moves Management will not be able to operate for a year as either a sales or letting agent.

An agreement between the three Government-approved redress schemes means the firm will not be able to register for any form of redress until the award is paid.

On the allAgents review site, a firm in Battersea called Premier Moves has 23 five-star reviews, one four-star review, and five one-star reviews.

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Source:: Agent thrown out of ombudsman scheme after failing to pay award