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June 2009

Two firms expelled by Ombudsman

TWO estate agencies have been expelled by The Property Ombudsman service after failing to pay awards made against them.

Both were informed of the decision a month ago and asked for their dismissals to be delayed while they paid the outstanding sums but this has not been done so their expulsions are now confirmed.

The agencies are Brooklands, of High Street, Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside and DP Estates of Crouch Hill, London N4.

Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer made awards totalling £3,724 against Brooklands following two complaints and £817 against DP Estates following a single complaint.

“Both these firms are involved in property sales with DP Estates also covering lettings,” said Bill McClintock, chief operating officer of The Property Ombudsman service.

“As a result of their dismissal from our scheme, they are no longer registered with an approved redress scheme as the law now requires for agencies involved in residential property sales.

“We will be advising other estate agency bodies, and the Office of Fair Trading, about the decision taken by our disciplinary council to dismiss these two firms.

“These agencies will need to be able to produce evidence of registration with an alternative redress scheme if they are to continue to sell residential property in the UK.

“Legally they could still be active in property lettings, but again there would be no Property Ombudsman redress, lessening consumer protection, which is available voluntarily from thousands of other UK lettings agencies.

“It is extremely rare for agents not to abide by the decisions of the Property Ombudsman and these expulsions show that the scheme has effective sanctions when needed.

“Ultimately, lack of registration with an approved redress scheme means no UK estate agency can take any part in residential property sales.

“Those who ignore the law possibly face a fine of up to £1,000 from trading standards officers, who are aware of our decision regarding these two firms.”