Ombudsman expels agency that kept £2,000 due to landlord

Oct 24, 2012


Town and Country Management Ltd had been ordered by the Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, to pay £2,243.52 to a landlord.
The award consisted of £2,042.52 in rent kept by owner Mr La Mura  plus £200 for aggravation, distress and inconvenience caused to the landlord but none of the money has been paid. Mr La Mura made a “goodwill offer” of £100 which he also failed to pay.
Mr La Mura was reported to the Disciplinary and Standards Council of TPO for three breaches of the TPO Lettings Code of Practice:
  • Failing to provide a service consistent with fairness, integrity, and best practice;
  • Not forwarding rent received from a tenant;
  • Non-payment of the Ombudsman’s award.
TPO chief operating officer Gerry Fitzjohn said: “The DSC took the view that these were flagrant breaches of the code and that the firm was no longer fit to have membership.”
The firm was offered the opportunity to appeal its expulsion, which will last for at least two years, but failed to respond.
Mr Fitzjohn said: “It concerns me that this lettings agency did not transfer rental monies received from the tenant to the landlord and this expulsion should be a warning to landlords and tenants about the behaviour of the firm.
“Landlords and tenants should be aware that they will no longer be able to refer matters to the Ombudsman if they feel they have been badly treated by TCM. They are therefore at a serious disadvantage.”
Trading Standards officers have been informed of the expulsion. Town and Country Management also has an office in Ampthill.
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