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High Court closes Lancashire agency group

Lancashire-based Saxtons has been closed down by the High Court for the misappropriation of client funds.

In a statement issued by the Insolvency Service today, the group is accused of failing to pay rental payments collected on behalf of landlords and failing to refund deposits collected from tenants.

The group, which comprised Saxtons (Residential Lettings) Limited, Saxtons Residential Limited and Saxtons (Burnley) Limited, operated as estate agents and letting agents in the Rossendale area until it was wound up in the High Court last month following an investigation by the Companies Investigation Branch of the Insolvency Service.

The investigation discovered numerous complaints made by landlords and tenants about the wrongful retention of rental payments and deposits. It also discovered that the group did not operate a tenancy deposit scheme, despite claiming to do so, while falsely claiming to be members of industry bodies, which it wasn't.

The Insolvency Service states that the group also continued operating through a series of phoenix companies, after abandoning its old ones with liabilities but no assets.

The case follows a call from Martin & Co to create a tenancy deposit scheme whereby tenants take responsibility for paying their deposits into a Government-bonded scheme.

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