To all concerned Parties re: Sarnia Estate Agents
Recently GPRLA Chairman, Jeff Guilbert, has given media interviews on this topic, and there have been various reports in the Guernsey Press and other media. This situation could affect landlords, tenants, and people whose home is managed by Sarnia Estates property management section. Also possibly house purchasers/sellers if they have paid money to Sarnia.
GPRLA suggest it might be wise to stop any further payments to Sarnia Estate Agents until the situation has been clarified. However anyone who thinks their money has been misappropriated should contact the police. Also Citizens Advice Guernsey advise that you can find out if the company has gone into receivership or liquidation by visiting the Guernsey Registry website www.guernseyregistry.com . If you paid by credit or debit card you may be able to claim back from your card provider.
Council member and co-owner of Mawson Collins, letting and property management company, Mike Collins adds:
Mawson Collins provided a statement to the Guernsey Press and Channel News over the past week with the aim to provide assistance to those involved but in the hope to assure landlords and tenants that this was a rare occurrence and generally funds are safe and well protected by agents locally.
The key issue is the quality of the agent’s financial controls. Landlords and Tenants should preferably look for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors lion logo in the letterhead of an agent before using them. RICS imposes strict regulatory requirements on members to separate client funds from the agent’s own funds at all times. The other regulatory body which has similar guidelines is the NAEA.
Local law regarding Deposit Protection may have some catching up to do in this regard but in the main our belief is that local letting and management agents are well aware of their responsibilities to separate funds and do so.
Any business can fail in a tough economic climate but the right systems allow a liquidator to quickly ensure Landlord or Tenant funds are identified and passed to their rightful owner.
For those affected by the current fallout, it is likely there will be an announcement confirming a Court appointed liquidator, with whom Landlords and Tenants can lodge a report of any loss of funds.
Please keep an eye on the Press ‘Gazette Officielle’ for this notification and in the meantime Landlords and Tenants should contact each other to agree a direct route for further rent and service charge funds as a holding measure.
Please feel free to contact me for further pointers.
Mike Collins, Council Member
Mawson Collins Ltd