A second, West Country, agency where the directors have convictions for aiding and abetting a fraud has also applied for voluntary and statutory membership for sales but this process has not been completed because of the conviction, although the agency apparently continues to trade.
‘The TPO Disciplinary and Standards Committee is looking at both agencies and will come to a decision shortly,’ he explained.
‘I cannot pre-empt what the committee will decide but the expulsion of wli.uk.com is likely to occur, subject to any appeals process. We asked for guidance from the OFT regarding the West Country agency in mid November and are still awaiting an answer regarding its statutory registration.
‘Our difficulty is that we are bound to accept agents into registration for residential sales under the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 until they have been banned from estate agency by the OFT. When, and if, that process takes place, they can be denied TPO registration completely.
‘The Ombudsman has a memorandum of understanding with the OFT that he will refer to them estate agents whose actions we have called into question and / or expelled from our voluntary schemes. We have done this in the past.
‘We have to study the applications that were made for membership of our schemes by these two firms and the answers that were given to some of the questions.
‘Nobody at TPO wants to see firms that have had their practices called into question by the courts continue with TPO membership but the process has to be fair and open.
‘It is important for the public and the industry to know the outcome and when these matters have been resolved I will issue a further statement.’
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