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Martin & Co terminates Rochdale license

Martin & Co has terminated the license of its Rochdale franchisee for allegedly failing to make timely rental payments to landlord clients.

Speaking exclusively to The Negotiator, Martin & Co managing director Ian Wilson alleges that he and a team of colleagues, included newly-appointed brand manager Sue Hopson, visited franchisee Carl Clarke on October 1, which is when he terminated his license. He claims that Clarke was taking longer than the seven working days Martin & Co's  terms of business require franchisees to pay clients.

This follows the license termination of the network’s Chester franchisee, Geoff Lavery, who Wilson alleges is responsible for the removal of client funds, as The Negotiator exclusively revealed last month. In a counterclaim, Lavery’s solicitor Peter Devine, senior partner at Cheshire-based solicitors Devine & Co, refutes the allegation, insisting that Martin & Co failed in its duty as franchisor to support Lavery’s office and help make it a success. A police investigation into client complaints relating to Lavery continues.

Wilson says: “We discovered that Carl Clarke had been paying some of his landlords later than we request. We asked him to pay them quicker and that didn’t happened, which is when we stepped in.”

Wilson alleges that discussions about Clarke's client accounts with his bank NatWest have revealed that his landlord clients, which span Rochdale and Bolton, are collectively owed £46,000 in rental payments.

Wilson says that Martin & Co is now managing the office from its headquarters in Bournemouth, and will continue to do so while it resolves client queries. He claims that the network has offered a £1,800 interest-free loan to cover the mortgage repayments of one landlord client, who is owed rental income that their tenant allegedly paid upfront to Clarke.

Clarke was unavailable for comment.


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