Former Newport estate agent still alllowed to handle lettings
A FORMER Newport estate agent who was declared unfit to sell houses in June last year insists he is still legally operating as a letting agent.
Earlier this month the Argus reported that John Shepherd, who has sold houses and handled rented properties from his Malpas Road office since 1985, was fined £1,000 by trading standards last June for not signing up to a customer redress scheme.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) declared he repeatedly failed to join the scheme and was therefore “unfit to engage in estate agency work”.
Mr Shepherd told the Argus he sought legal advice, stopped selling houses and removed properties from his website and office window, and since June last year had been handling rented properties only.
He said that although he accepts responsibility, he was in hospital while a former colleague handled the application to join the redress scheme in 2011, and companies wanting to buy his business meant he did not reapply to join the scheme in 2012.
“I had to accept the fine, I couldn’t do anything about it,” said Mr Shepherd, 68.
“It would have cost £2,500 to appeal the decision, so I didn’t appeal.
“The OFT confirmed in writing that I do not need to be in the ombudsman scheme just doing lettings, but when I saw the headline in the Argus it said I was no longer trading, which I am.
“Trading for me is lettings now, not sales,” he said.
“It was a shock to see the story after all this time, and the picture of me was actually taken at a charity event.”