The Property Ombudsman has booted two letting agents out of the redress scheme.

Bower & Bower, based in Exeter, Devon, was expelled after the ombudsman found against the firm over complaints from two landlords.

Both claimed the letting agent had failed to pass on rent collected from tenants.

In the first case a £2,700 award was made, which was paid to the landlord by the agent, but the agent failed to hand over deposits paid by tenants on two buy to let homes.

The ombudsman directed the agent to forward the deposits, but the agent did not comply.

Besides the rent complaint, the second landlord also claimed Bower & Bower did not send any rent statements.

The agent explained that banking problems had led to monies which should have been transferred being frozen, but did eventually pay over rent of £3,150.  The Ombudsman was critical, saying that if this had been the case, the agent should have said so earlier and not waited for several months.

Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle said: “One of the key roles of an agent under their management agreement, is to pay over rent received from a tenant to a landlord in a timely manner.  I am critical of the agent’s failures to do this or provide sufficient explanation.

“They should also have provided a formal confirmation that they were no longer acting for the landlord, the date of termination and any ongoing liabilities and make arrangements for the transfer of deposits.”

Lawrence Property Consultants, of Coventry, West Midlands, was also expelled by the ombudsman.

The firm failed to pay an award of £8,583 to a married couple living in sheltered accommodation for whom they acted as managing agents.

The property owners complained to the ombudsman about several issues relating to the management of the properties – including overcrowding by letting to too many tenants, which voided the owner’s insurance.

Letting agents not belonging to a redress scheme cannot trade by law in England.