Two Property Firms Expelled From The Property Ombudsman

Two companies in London have been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay compensation to consumers.

This brings the total number expelled this year to 13, down from 18 in 2022.

Both companies, Prinsegate Chartered Surveyors and Monsoon Properties, were referred to the TPO’s Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from The Property Ombudsman scheme.

Monsoon Properties Ltd (London N15) – The Property Ombudsman supported a complaint and awarded £2,000 after Monsoon Properties Ltd failed to return vacant possession of a property to a landlord as requested at the end of a guaranteed rent agreement.

As a result, the landlord was left with a tenant in situ, paying a sum below market rate, that stayed over 14 months beyond the end of the fixed term (of the rent guarantee agreement). Monsoon Properties Ltd had not issued possession proceedings that were expressly referred to in their terms of business.

Monsoon Properties Ltd set up a payment plan to the landlord but only two of the eight instalments were made to the landlord. It is believed that Monsoon Properties is no longer trading as there is no online presence nor a trading address.

Prinsegate Chartered Surveyors (Kingston Upon Thames, KT1) – The Property Ombudsman supported five issues raised by a consumer who had instructed a survey prior to purchasing a property, and awarded the cost of the survey back to the complainant by making an award of £890.

The Ombudsman found the survey report presented several significant issues. Firstly, the surveyor neglected to assign condition ratings to individual elements, thereby leaving their opinions on the condition of each element unclear. Additionally, Prinsegate consistently recommended further investigations or confirmation of findings for nearly all elements, even in the absence of identified issues. The report caused unnecessary confusion by inconsistently describing windows as timber framed and later referring to them as metal-lined, without adequately clarifying the full construction details.

Furthermore, the inclusion of costings for injecting a damp-proof course, despite it being an unviable option for a listed property, indicated a lack of awareness on the surveyor’s part. Lastly, Prinsegate failed to explain the difference in costings given for the installation of a fire break, with one email stating this would be £2,000 and the costing report identifying this as £30,000.

It is believed that Prinsegate, chartered surveyors, may still be trading despite failing to communicate with The Property Ombudsman throughout this investigation.

Rebecca Marsh, The Property Ombudsman, said: “It is encouraging to see a decrease in the number of agents being referred to the Compliance Committee. This demonstrates our ongoing effectiveness in ensuring that nearly all consumers encountering issues receive the redress they deserve.

“As part of TPO’s compliance process, notification of these expulsions has been shared with all relevant bodies, including both local and national Trading Standards for further investigation, as well as all property portals.”

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