Kangs Solicitors has recently successfully represented a London based property company which appealed to the First Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) against a substantial financial penalty which Trading Standards sought to impose.
Tim Thompson of Kangs Solicitors outlines the manner in which the successful outcome was achieved.
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The Circumstances | Kangs Regulatory Solicitors
Our client had received Notices from Trading Standards that it intended to impose substantial financial penalties for breaches of the following:
- Regulation 3 of The Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc. ) Regulations 2019
- Section 83 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015
The Relevant Law | Kangs Trading Offences Defence Solicitors
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides:
Section 83 ‘Duty of letting agents to publicise fees etc
(1) A letting agent must, in accordance with this section, publicise details of the agent’s relevant fees.
(2) The agent must display a list of the fees—
(a) at each of the agent’s premises at which the agent deals face-to-face with persons using or proposing to use services to which the fees relate, and
(b) at a place in each of those premises at which the list is likely to be seen by such persons.
(3) The agent must publish a list of the fees on the agent’s website (if it has a website).’
Section 87 ‘Enforcement of the duty
‘(7) The amount of a financial penalty imposed under this section—
(a) may be such as the authority imposing it determines, but
(b) must not exceed £5,000.’
The Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc. ) Regulations 2019 provides:
‘Requirement to belong to a client money protection scheme
3.— (1) A property agent who holds client money must be a member of an approved or designated client money protection scheme.
(2) The property agent must ensure that the membership obtained results in a level of compensation being available which is no less than the maximum amount of client money that the agent may from time to time hold.
Penalty for breach of the requirement to belong to a client money protection scheme
6.—(1) Where a local authority in England is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a property agent has breached regulation 3, the authority may impose a financial penalty in respect of the breach.
(2) The financial penalty—
(a) may be of such amount as the authority imposing it determines; but
(b) must not exceed £30,000’.
How We Assisted Our Client | First-Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber)
- The Team at Kangs Solicitors attended our client discussing the circumstances which had given rise to the proposed imposition of the substantial penalties and advised upon the appropriate course to adopt in order to try and mitigate the proposed financial penalties.
- Detailed Representations were prepared and submitted, and, having considered the same, Trading Standards reviewed its decision and agreed to reduce the level of penalties previously proposed.
- Having considered our further advice, our client submitted an Appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber).
Negotiations conducted immediately prior to the Hearing, resulted in the proposed level of penalties being discounted by more than fifty per cent together with a payment time frame acceptable to our client.
Needless to say our client was delighted with the result achieved by the efforts of the Team at Kangs Solicitors.
Had it not proved possible to substantially reduce the level of the penalties being sought, our client faced the possibility of insolvency.
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