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A LETTINGS agency has closed after it was expelled from a dispute resolution scheme.
Lettings Solutions Ltd, which traded from Guithavon Street in Witham, closed in March due to a number of personal problems affecting the owner. The business has since been taken over.
One landlord contacted The Property Ombudsman (TPO) after she was unable to resolve her dispute with the agency.
Her complaint included tenant referencing, agreeing tenancies without explicit approval, missing deposit monies, property repairs, pursuing outstanding rent and a tenancy renewal which appeared to have been made without her consent.
This led to the business being expelled from TPO after several breaches of the scheme’s code of practice.
Katrine Sporle, from the Property Ombudsman, said: “This has been a complex case to review.
“The agent systematically failed to grasp the fundamental legal principle that the landlord should decide who to rent their property to.
“My investigation found that Lettings Solutions Ltd had failed to follow code procedures for referencing and documenting tenant applications.”
The investigation by TPO revealed the tenants were known to Lettings Solutions Ltd, but had not had recent reference checks.
The landlord also highlighted issues concerning the deposit for the tenancy.
This was only partially paid and what was received was not protected by a recognised Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, a legal requirement. The case was taken to court by Lettings Solutions Ltd.
But a judgement debt made against the tenant proved unenforceable because they could not be found.
A spokesman for Lettings Solution Ltd said: “I recently, as did the new owner of the business, spoke with this landlord of whom was very understanding of my situation given the recent suicide of my partner of 13 years.
“We explained the business had changed hands and that I was no longer in business due to the changes in my circumstances.
“This landlord showed no signs of wanting to pursue this matter.
“The Property Ombudsman were also made aware of the situation and the time I have had to take away from the business and my recent decision to sell.”
One of the complications which hampered the investigation of the case was Letting Solutions Ltd’s poor record keeping and poor financial accounting.
Heminstone Estates has taken on the office premises and has no association with Lettings Solutions A spokesman said it was working to resolve any issues following the decision to close and cease trading
Lettings Solutions as a company has not ceased trading and is still active on Companies House.
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