An Oldham letting agency has been issued with penalty notices totalling £3,000 for operating illegally by failing to belong to a government-approved redress scheme. Since 2014 it has been a legal requirement for letting agencies to join one of two approved schemes.
Oldham Council’s Trading Standards department had launched an investigation int 4Property UK Ltd, formally based at Salmon Fields, Royton, after receiving complaints from landlords.
David Walters, 4Property UK Ltd’s director, had been expelled from one of the schemes – the Property Redress Scheme. Both government-recognised schemes have a mutual agreement that an expelled member cannot re-join either until outstanding matters are resolved, which made it impossible for Walters to trade legally.
The council served Notices of Intent in July 2020 and April 2021 that a penalty notice would be issued. In doing so, it allowed Walters the opportunity to submit representations explaining why he believed the company did not need to be a member of a redress scheme.
He did not respond and final notices were served in September 2020 and June 2021, giving him the option of either paying the penalties or appealing to the First Tier Tribunal, a civil court.
After failing to respond three penalty notices of £1,000 each were issued. 4PropertyUK Ltd is now based at Lordship Lane, London.
‘The vast majority of local lettings agents operate within the law and are signed up to a redress scheme. This allows tenants and landlords to get an independent and fair adjudication if they have a complaint’, said councillor Amanda Chadderton, deputy leader of Oldham Council.
‘We will always try to work with agents and help them, but legal action will be taken where they fail to adhere to legal requirements’.