An estate and letting agent based in Greenwich have been fined £12,500 and seen an appeal rejected after incorrectly claiming to be a member of a tenant protection scheme.
Maritime Properties on Trafalgar Road took more than two years to join a scheme – which is a legal obligation – despite reminders from the authority.
Ina ruling the judge stated “its failures were so negligent that as to be tantamount to deliberate”.
Greenwich Council fined the agents £12,500 after Maritime didn’t meet legal obligations yet claimed to be part of the Client Money Protection scheme.
This was below the £30,000 fines able to be levied since powers introduced in 2019.
Client Money Protection state: “All residential letting and property management agents that handle client money are legally required to join a client money protection scheme.”
Maritime however did not follow that rule, and after being fined took Greenwich Council to court – where they lost.
The agents argued they should pay less or nothing at all despite flouting laws. The Judge did not agree.
Judge Findley stated: “While it took sporadic action to join the CMP scheme, [Maritime Properties] did not follow anything close to a reasonable fashion.
“In effect, its failures were so negligent that as to be tantamount to deliberate.”
Councillor Ann-Marie Cousins, the new Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Enforcement after the recent election, said:
“I am pleased with the Judge’s findings.
“Examples like this show how important it for letting agents to follow the rules.
“The Money Protection Scheme is there for a reason.
“It protects both renters and landlords, so it’s simply unacceptable that renters’ security deposits could be put at risk through no fault of their own.
“Letting agents must display a certificate on their website to prove they will protect your money should anything go wrong.”