The panel members were Mr Richard Hair PPNAEA (Honoured) (member panellist acting as the Chairperson for the Tribunal), Mr David Coleman MARLA FNAEA (member panellist) and Mr Clive Wood (lay panellist). The presenting Case Officer for Propertymark was Ms Farrah Gibson and Mr Howard was in attendance at the hearing accompanied by his colleagues Mr Menno de Vree (Head of Operations) and Ms Debbie Yarrow (Head of Finance).
The Tribunal considered the allegations set out in the case summary sent to Mr Howard. It was alleged that Mr Howard had acted in contravention of the requirements of the following Propertymark Conduct and Membership Rules.
- Conduct rule 1.14: Payments out of a Client (Bank) Account
- Conduct rule 13: General duty to uphold high standards of ethical and professional behaviour
- 13.1.2 Involves other unprofessional practice or practice that is unfair to members of the public;
- Conduct rule 21: Continuing professional development (CPD) rules
The Tribunal reached the following decision after considering the submissions from the Case Officer and Mr Howard:
- Conduct rule 1.14: Admitted
- Conduct rule 13.1.2: Proven
- Conduct rule 21: Admitted
Mr Howard submitted a plea in mitigation.
- Conduct rule 1.14: £5,000
- Conduct rule 13.1.2: £5,000
- Conduct rule 21: £500
In addition, costs were imposed of £193 against Mr Howard in favour of Propertymark.
The Tribunal made the following statement:
'Firstly, we thank all three of you for attending today, your input has been very helpful to your case. However, clients account is sacrosanct and money should never be withdrawn for any unwarranted reason.
The Tribunal have considered the full range of penalties in the case and have imposed the maximum financial penalties available.'
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