A lettings management boss in Exeter was disqualified for six years after failing to safeguard more than £68,000 worth of tenants’ deposits.
Kelly Louise Forrester was director of Clear Lettings Limited which operated a custodial deposit scheme.
In accordance with the Housing Act 2004, Clear Lettings would safely hold onto tenants’ deposits on behalf of their landlords.
But from at least June 2016 through to April 2019, the director caused Clear Lettings to become uncompliant with its statutory obligations to properly safeguard more than £68,000 worth of tenants’ deposits.
For more than two years, Kelly Forrester caused the company to collect tenants’ deposits connected to at least 54 properties but did not pay them into the government-backed custodial deposit scheme.
Instead, the £68,000 was spent on the general running of the company.
Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Kelly Forrester failed to safeguard the deposits she was entrusted to hold onto, resulting in losses to both landlords and tenants.
“Her conduct fell short of what is required of a director of a limited liability company and her disqualification will act as a deterrent to others from similar conduct in the future.”
The misconduct was uncovered after Clear Lettings entered into liquidation proceedings in April 2019 and the Insolvency Service conducted investigations into the activities of Forrester while director of the real estate agency.
On 24 December, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Forrester.
This was after she did not dispute that she had caused Clear Lettings’ failure to ensure that deposits taken from tenants were safeguarded, as required by the Housing Act 2004.