Landlords and letting agents hit by the collapse of Ash Residential Property Management Limited (ARPM) have been left struggling to claw back deposits and fees after it ceased trading last month with debts of almost £1.5m.

At least 8,000 properties and their landlords are affected and some 160 agents have been left in the lurch, with one reported to be owed £300,000 by the failed firm.

ARPM offered several services from rent and deposit collection for landlords and agents right up to a full out-sourced service for agents including property management, taking its fees and then passing the remainder to the agent each month. ARPM is registered with both Client Money Protect and mydeposits, covering landlords against lost rent and tenants against lost deposits, but the set-up did not cover agents against fees owed by ARPM. As a result, they will have to join the creditors’ queue or make a claim to ARPM’s PI insurance provider. ARPM founder Simon Duce is currently uncontactable.

Coming clean

Many agents didn’t tell their landlords that they’d outsourced some or all of their tenancy operations and are now having to come clean, while mydeposits is also sending out letters to agents, landlords and tenants setting out the steps they need to take. However, while landlords can claim the money back if they can prove they didn’t receive any rent, those responsible agents who covered missing rent won’t be able to and instead will have to try and find another route for redress.

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Eddie Hooker, CEO of both mydeposits and Client Money Protect, says it is working hard with all interested parties to ensure that as many landlords, tenants and other third parties are financially compensated by this awful situation. He adds: “However, there are many legal complexities to this case which will need detailed investigation by various authorities, and we are working these through with the government, insurers and other regulatory bodies. We will be contacting the affected parties over the coming days and weeks.”

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