Press release

North London letting agent banned for six years for failing to protect tenant deposits

David Philip Copestake, a director of David Philip Copestake (Highbury) Limited (DPC), which traded as David Philips, a letting agent based in North London, has been disqualified from acting as a company director for six years for failing to protect tenant deposits.

placeholder

His disqualification follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

David Copestake, 46, has given an undertaking that he will not act as a director of a limited company for six years, as a result of his conduct as a director of DPC, which went into liquidation on 15 March 2013.

In giving the undertaking, Mr Copestake did not dispute that between January 2010 and February 2013, he caused DPC to take deposits without properly protecting them in a deposit protection scheme. The total amount of deposits taken was around £339,000, but only deposits of £38,960 were protected. The company went into liquidation with debts of least £595,091.

The disqualification means that Mr Copestake may not be a director of a company or be involved in the management of a company in any way for the duration of his disqualification unless he has permission from Court.

Commenting on the disqualification, Mark Bruce, a Chief Investigator for The Insolvency Service said:

The undertaking signed by Mr Copestake sends a clear message to other company directors. The Housing Act 2004 places those who receive tenancy deposits under clear obligations to protect tenants and landlords from loss. If your company has failed and you have not taken seriously your responsibilities as a director when dealing with tenancy deposits, The Insolvency Service will investigate you and you could be removed from the business environment.

Notes to editors

David Philip Copestake, 46, was director of David Philip Copestake (Highbury) Ltd (CRO No. 04213308), which was incorporated in May 2001 and traded from 12 Crouch Hill, London, N4.

Mr Copestake has undertaken not to act in the management of a company for a period of 6 years from 23 March 2015. His date of birth is 24 April 1968.

Information for landlords and tenants about approved deposit protection schemes and information about how to check if their deposits are protected is available.

Under the Housing Act 2004, for tenancies that have been started or renewed since 6 April 2007, landlords and agents in receipt of a deposit are required to protect it using an approved tenancy deposit scheme created for the purpose of “safeguarding tenancy deposits paid in connection with shorthold tenancies and facilitating the resolution of disputes arising in connection with such deposits”.

One of the main purposes of the Company Directors Disqualification Act is to ensure that proper standards of conduct of company directors is maintained and to raise those standards where appropriate.

The Housing Act 2004 places those who receive tenancy deposits under clear obligations to protect tenants and landlords from loss, and The Insolvency Service will ensure that action is taken against those who place deposits at risk by disregarding these protections.

DPC ceased trading in March 2013 and was placed into voluntary liquidation on 15 March 2013. The director disclosed debts of £595,091, which did not include the amounts due to landlords and tenants.

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company
  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
  • be a receiver of a company’s property

In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.

Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions is available.

The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice. Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

Published 23 June 2015