Ombudsman expels local estate agent

A Northumberland estate agent has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman for two years after failing to comply with parts of the code of practice.

A S Moon & Partners, a sales and letting agent based in Bedlington, has been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for a minimum of two years after failing to comply with parts of the TPO Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents.

The firm failed to co-operate with the Ombudsman’s investigation following a complaint and has not paid an award made of £750.

The decision to expel A S Moon from voluntary TPO membership arose following a complaint from a landlord.

The complainant said the agent returned a deposit to his tenant in full despite there being damage to the property and without checking whether the landlord wished to claim against it.

On the second property, the landlord complained about not receiving rent and failure to carry out a check-out inventory, despite the agent providing a managed service to the landlord.

The landlord also complained that A S Moon failed to respond to his complaint. The Ombudsman upheld all the complaints to varying degrees and made the award.

Gerry Fitzjohn, vice chairman of the TPO board, said: “The Ombudsman aims to promote a resolution in full and final settlement of a complaint, and will determine appropriate redress where satisfied that the actions of an agent have disadvantaged a complainant.

“In this case, all complaints were upheld as far as they could be without any input from the agent who failed to communicate with TPO at all.”