Estate and letting agent Gallery@HD1 has been banned from trading.
The troubled estate and letting agent has been expelled by yet another industry regulator.
It follows a series of complaints that the John William Street outlet, operated by Dennis Goodridge, has been withholding monies owed to tenants and landlords.
But it’s now up to Trading Standards to step in if Mr Goodridge’s Gallery@HD1 continues to operate.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) had already banned Mr Goodridge’s company after he failed to comply with its investigations and pay £3587 owed to one landlord.
As part of a memo of understanding, the two other national redress operators will not allow an agent to sign up if money is owed.
Yet registering with an approved redress scheme is a legal requirement for letting agents in England.
Today a spokesman for the Property Redress Scheme, the second industry regulator he signed up with, said: “This agent has been under investigation and the decision has since been made to expel this agent under the Memorandum of Understanding.
“As this circumstance involved separate limited companies we had to be sure that our information and investigations were thorough before any decision was made.”
The spokesman explained: “He may not continue to operate as either a letting or estate agent. This is the primary function of the Property Redress Scheme; raising standards in this industry by ensuring so-called ‘rogue’ agents are unable to operate in the industry.
“Under both the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 and Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, estate agents and letting agents respectively must be a member of a government authorised redress scheme in order to operate.
“As all three redress schemes adhere to a Memorandum of Understanding, this agent will not be able to join any of the authorised redress schemes under his given circumstances.
“The duty of enforcement, however, lies with local Trading Standards office to impose fines or sanctions on the agent.
“The penalty for failure by an agent to join a government authorised redress scheme is £5,000 and continued operation without becoming a member could mean the agency is ultimately closed down.”
It comes as one complainant of Dennis Goodridge says he’s paid back £1,200 owed to her.
Saimah Afzal rented her terraced house in Oakes via the letting agent and we reported on her case on November 14. Last week Mr Goodridge paid up.
Mrs Afzal said: “He got in touch and reimbursed me all the costs, He said he was struggling. I’d like to thank him for paying.”