Main content

Letting agent fined for false claims about working with Islington Council

A letting agent has been left with a bill of £6,000 for using Islington Council’s name and logo in its publicity without permission, falsely claiming that it worked with the council to provide social housing.

Wentworth Housing Ltd, trading as Wentworth Estates, was taken to court by the council for publishing the claims on its website and using the council logo without asking, to imply it had the council’s endorsement.

The firm had admitted the offences in 2016 and was issued with a simple caution, but failed to remove the claims and logo from its website. In a rare move and following another complaint in September 2017, the council decided to bring a prosecution.

Late last month the firm was found guilty of two offences and fined £1,200 in total – £600 per offence – and ordered to pay full costs of £4,800.

Cllr Andy Hull, executive member for finance, performance and community safety, said: “Finding a new home can be a stressful experience for anyone, and it is vital that our residents can trust the assurances given on letting agents’ websites.

“We are committed to providing good-quality social housing and we always carefully vet the companies we work with to ensure they meet our standards of service. It is not fair for people looking for reliable letting agents to be fooled into thinking we endorse a company.

“We do not want our logo and reputation to be misused by unscrupulous businesses, nor give people a false sense of security. Wentworth didn’t listen the first time; now I hope they have learned their lesson.”

Islington also brought the prosecution on behalf of Kingston Council, who Wentworth Housing Ltd, trading as Wentworth Estates, had made similar claims about.

 

Notes to editor

Wentworth Housing Ltd is registered at 106 Ilford Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 2LD

Wentworth Housing Ltd was convicted under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 of a) using the council’s logo without authorisation, implying endorsement, and b) falsely claiming to work with the council to provide social housing.

Sentencing took place on July 24 at Blackfriars Crown Court.