A BOURNEMOUTH property developing company which made false advertising claims has been ordered to pay more than £15,000 in fines and costs. 

Lomand Homes, based in Glenferness Avenue, pleaded guilty to five offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations at Bournemouth Magistrates Court this week.

Dorset County Council’s trading standards service investigated allegations that the company had falsely claimed that properties at Pennsylvania Heights, Portland, were built to “certified Passivhaus standards”.

These industry standards show that buildings are constructed in a way that reduces the need to heat or cool them. However, after failing to reach this standard, Lomand Homes continued to advertise the properties as if they had.

District Judge Stephen Nicholls said that the company had been “negligent in the way it handled the advertising”.

Lomand Homes was fined £3,400, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £12,000 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Richard Herringshaw, principal trading standards officer, said: “Once it became clear to the company that the properties were struggling to meet the standard they had two options, either invest in achieving the claimed standard or amend the claims. It seems that they chose neither.”

The council’s cabinet member for economy and growth, Cllr Colin Jamieson, added: “Buying a house is the largest purchasing decision most consumers will make.

“It is vital that all of those involved in marketing properties ensure that the claims they make are true and that buyers can rely on them. Allowing decision to be made carefully, based on real evidence. This gives confidence in property sales businesses in this area.

“Our trading standards team works with businesses to help ensure fair trading but enforcement action including prosecution is appropriate in some cases.”

Anyone affected by similar issues should report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.