A letting agency has been expelled by The Property Redress Scheme after it failed to comply with a decision on redress.
The expulsion came as a result of a complaint about a holding deposit and centred on a tenant who had viewed what was advertised by Jordan Residential of Croydon as being a three-bedroomed dwelling. It transpired, however, that the property did not have the promised three bedrooms. Instead, it featured a converted lounge and two bedrooms.
The tenant complained that they felt pressured and rushed by the agent. They paid a £600 holding deposit but quickly decided that they were not content with the rental arrangement.
Within a 24-hour period, they informed Jordan Residential that they would accept the rental on the property but only on the condition that the rent was lowered.
The agents verbally refused and, after the initial conversation, did not enter into any further correspondence with the would-be tenant. The tenant went on to send two recorded delivery letters but neither led to any kind of response.
The PRS judged that the agent’s retention of the holding deposit was unfair in this particular situation because:
- The agent had not had to use any of the holding deposit to pay for the relevant costs supposedly covered by it.
- The landlord was not affected by any loss as a result of the stipulated property being held as Jordan Residential had not withdrawn it from the market when the tenant decided to pull out of the agreement.
- The property in question did not comply with the description that had been advertised by the agent.
Jordan Residential was instructed by PRS to pay a total of £612.80 back to the complainant to cover the deposit and the costs of recorded delivery.
PRS said that the agent had failed to even acknowledge the complaints process; had made no effort to manage the issue or pay the instructed award; had not paid the complaint scheme subscription fees advertised; nor had it offered any evidence or communication in mitigation.
Jordan Residential was suspended from the scheme initially and, after further investigations, was expelled as a result of its failure to co-operate or pay the award in breach of the agencies’ terms of reference.
Jordan Residential will not be allowed to join any of the other schemes until terms of the PRS outcome have been met, in line with a memorandum to which all of the schemes adhere. This means that the agent cannot legally trade until it becomes a member of one of the redress schemes.