Purplebricks says a newspaper article suggesting he will sell his rental business is not true.
A company statement this morning, released to the media some 72 hours after the rumor was published by the Daily Telegraph, read: “The Telegraph article this weekend regarding Purplebricks plans to sell our rental business is not true. Leasing is a critical part of our growth ambitions at Purplebricks and we will continue to invest in this part of our business as we move into 2022 and beyond ”.
The agency – which in recent years has pulled out of a string of international sales markets – said by The Telegraph it was discussing offloading its UK rentals. According to The Telegraph, Purplebricks chief executive Vic Darvey and other executives had discussed a possible sale of the rental division; the newspaper said auditors had been approached to assess the division ahead of a possible sale.
Purplebricks admitted it failed to properly serve tenants with the documents required by law explaining that their deposits had been placed in a national protection program, and told shareholders it could cost the company up to £ 9million. The Telegraph assesses potential liability at more than three times that amount.
A month ago, Purplebricks revealed that its rental manager had resigned with immediate effect with the laconic statement: “Helen Ogden, rental manager, has decided to leave Purplebricks. We will announce a new manager for our rental business in due course. “
Indeed, no announcement of a new rental manager has been made.
Shortly before the end of last year, The Telegraph broke the rental scandal over Purplebricks and tenant deposits, stating: “It is understood that since the inception of the online real estate agent in 2012, it hasn’t has not properly served tenants with legally required documents explaining their deposits. were placed in a national protection regime.
“These documents, called prescribed information, must be given to tenants within 30 days of payment of the deposit. Failure to do so means the tenant can claim up to three times the money’s value.
“Tenants have a six-year limitation period to file a claim against the agent or their landlord. A source with knowledge of the company said Purplebricks’ historic liabilities could reach £ 30million, assuming everyone eligible to make a claim has done so.
At this time, Purplebricks declined to say how many deposits were affected or how long the law was broken because the deposits were not deposited into a system.
This has given rise to speculation that the owners may have been at risk of legal action.
An agency statement last month said: “Due to the introduction of a new rental computer system, a small number of tenant deposits have not been posted into an authorized deposit system. As soon as we identified this issue, we took action and have now recorded these deposits. We are currently in contact with the affected owners and tenants. “
A spokesperson added: “We will not answer any further questions. “