A landlord who wrote to tenants under the cover of his law firm employer has been barred from employment in the profession. Colin Duck, who was an equity release assistant in the Exeter office of national firm Ashfords LLP, created and sent two misleading letters to the tenants in January 2016 and August 2016.
The letters falsely stated that Ashfords acted for Duck in connection with the rental management of the tenanted property, when no such arrangement existed.
Duck created false reference numbers to back up his claims, giving a name and false job title for the letter writer to add extra credence.
According to a notice posted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the former equity release trainee also misled his firm during an internal investigation into his conduct. He resigned from the firm on 15 June 2017 with immediate effect.
The SRA said Duck’s conduct was dishonest and breached two of its principles. He was ordered to pay a £2,000 penalty and cover the £600 costs of the investigation. As a non-solicitor, he was also made subject to a section 43 order which prevents him being employed by any regulated firm without SRA permission.
In a statement, Ashfords said: ‘We notified our regulatory body immediately on discovering the subject matter of this report and agree and support the SRA’s decision and handling of this matter.’