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PRS Expels Agent for Non-Compliance

AMF Estates t/a Hill Estates based in Heywood, Greater Manchester have been expelled from membership with the Property Redress Scheme after failing to make an award of £1,000 to a Landlord Complainant.

 

The decision to expel this Agent from the scheme began following receipt of a complaint from a Landlord claiming that Hill Estates had not undertaken contractual arrangements. This included failure to inform the Landlord that the previous tenants had moved out of the property, leaving the Landlord unable to complete a check-out inspection. The Landlord was later made aware of considerable damage to the property including structural changes and the effects of keeping a prohibited pet in the property - both of which were allegedly agreed to by the Agent.

 

In the absence of a check-out inspection, it was not possible from the evidence provided to establish whether this damage had been caused by the previous or current tenants. The Agent maintained that they returned the deposit directly the previous tenant.

 

The Landlord also claimed they had not received any rent from the new tenants and that Hill Estates failed to provide an Energy Proficiency Certificate (EPC) or protect the current tenant’s deposit under a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

 

The Head of Redress, Sean Hooker, did not deem the Agent liable for breaches of the tenancy by the current or previous tenant and therefore made no award for damages or unpaid rent to the complainant.

 

 However, following a full investigation, the Head of Redress instructed Hill Estates to pay £1,000 to the Complainant in lieu of missing deposits and failure to remove rubbish and furniture left by the previous tenant, as per their commitment to do so. Hill Estates have still not paid the award.

 

Hill Estates had their membership suspended pending further investigation by the Head of Redress. His recommendation to the Board of the Property Redress Scheme was that Hill Estates be expelled from the scheme due to the lack of co-operation with the complaints process. This decision has been ratified by the board.

 

Sean Hooker commented “Failure to pay an award, however large or small, is a serious breach of our Terms of Reference. Agents must not assume that the complaint will go away if they remain silent and refuse to engage with the scheme.”

 

Hill Estates must now face the consequences of being expelled from the Property Redress Scheme – as there is a memorandum of understanding set up between the redress schemes, they will not be able to join any scheme until the terms of the Head of Redress’ decision have been met. Property Agent’s cannot legally trade without a redress scheme membership in place. 

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Property Redress Scheme is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015