Latest list of expelled agents (Jan 2024)
Aimed at raising awareness and standards in the property industry, our quarterly expulsions update offers some insight into what leads up to the PRS’s decision to expel a member, following a lengthy disciplinary process.
Our update includes an explanation of the facts that we considered when assessing each case, and the outcome, including details of any award made. Interestingly, all but one of this group of expelled agents, who were expelled by the PRS between August and October 2023, chose not to engage with us during the complaint investigation. These all ended up in default decisions, where only one party’s evidence can be examined before the decision is made. An agent who does not engage with us at any point is unable to request any review of a decision and fees are charged at both the complaint and compliance stages.
The PRS expulsion list:
- McCullough Residential Ltd – not protecting the deposit and poor service (default decision)
The tenant’s complaint was that the security deposit was not protected by the agent and not returned at the end of the tenancy, despite the agent emailing to say that they would transfer it. In addition, the agent was poor on communication and made false promises. The tenant wanted the deposit refunded and compensation for stress and inconvenience. The agent did not engage with us or provide any evidence showing that the £1400 deposit had been protected or repaid. The decision was for the agent to transfer compensation equivalent to the deposit and pay £100 for stress and inconvenience due to poor service.
- Park Estates & Lettings Ltd – poor service and ‘unprotected’ security deposit (default decision)
The landlord complainant asked the agent to issue a Section 8 notice as the tenant was £2,500 in rent arrears, and release the £635 deposit to cover some of the rent arrears, neither of which happened. The property was also left in poor condition and the agent did not take a final meter reading, leaving the landlord to pay an estimated bill. The agent did not engage with us or provide any evidence to support their position. While the landlord had issued a county court claim for the arrears, arrears are the tenant’s responsibility and not the agent’s, although the agent should have provided better service to help the landlord. The agent had also provided poor service in relation to a lack of meter readings, property inspections and the deposit, which, although originally protected, had been removed by the agent. The decision directed the agent to pay compensation equal to the £635 deposit and a total of £550 for stress and inconvenience.
- Loc8me (Lincoln) – poor service and compensation (default decision)
The complainant tenant said that the property had several issues, which the agent was aware of from the start of the tenancy. These had not been resolved, causing stress and inconvenience, and the tenant was looking for a proportion of rent to be refunded and compensation. The agent had previously offered £100, which was rejected, and the agent did not provide any rebuttal statement or evidence. A rent refund is something only the First Tier Tribunal can decide. While the landlord is responsible for repairs needed in the property, the agent is responsible for informing the landlord, taking instruction, and keeping the tenant informed. In the absence of proof that this was done, an award of £250 was made for stress and inconvenience.
- Residential Results LLP T/A Burwood Marsh – rent collect and poor service (default decision)
The landlord complainant said the agent had not passed on the rent collected from the tenant, causing stress and inconvenience. The agent did not engage with us and provided no evidence in response to the complaint. The evidence showed that the agent was unresponsive to the complainant’s request for rent payments. Any rent paid was late or not paid in full and this was right from the start of the tenancy. The case officer calculated £10,781.11 in outstanding rent, which the agent was to pay, and an additional £150 for stress and inconvenience, totalling £10,931.11.
- Philip Davison T/A Aria Property Solutions - rent collect, security deposit and stress and inconvenience (default decision)
The landlord complainant was owed a few months’ rent, less management and re-letting fees, but the agent had transferred nothing. In addition, the landlord wanted the agent to release the deposit to him as the tenant had breached the tenancy agreement. The agent provided no statement or evidence in response. The PRS is unable to deal with protected deposits and these should be dealt with through the tenancy deposit protection scheme. An agent is responsible for paying their landlord client the rent that’s been paid by the tenant, less any management fees. There was no evidence that the tenant had defaulted on the rent and no evidence that the outstanding rent was transferred to the landlord. At the time of the decision, the outstanding rent was calculated as £3,150 and an additional £150 was awarded for stress and inconvenience due to poor property management.
- RG Property Solutions T/A Luke Stays - rent collect (proposed decision)
The complainant landlord had a lease agreement with the agent to manage a block of five properties. The agent had not passed on the rent collected and the landlord wanted to end their agreement based on breach of contract. Other issues were also raised, which are outside the PRS’s authority to deal with. The landlord wanted the agent to pay the outstanding rent, act in line with the notice to end the contract, and not take any more short term lets. The agent responded with their own statement and evidence about problems in the property with damp, mould and pests which is why the rent had not been transferred but confirmed the managing agent contract had now ended. While we are unable to deal with counterclaims for money, withheld rent payments can be investigated and the agent had no right to withhold the rent collected, so was to pay the outstanding £8,932.84 to the landlord.