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  • Entrepreneurs

    Landlords warned about using Gumtree



    Landlords warned about using Gumtree on tonight’s “Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords” Channel 5 TV show

    “Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords” airs its second episode of the third series tomorrow night at 9pm on Channel 5 which explores the fallout one landlord faces after deciding to let her property through Gumtree.

    Despite not knowing much about how Gumtree operates, Vicki McNaught made the decision to list her property on the site as it was a cheaper alternative to using a letting agent.

    Initially, Vicky was delighted when a young professional moved into her flat promising to look after the place. He boasted of a private education and his references showed a great career in the city, but it didn’t take long before he stopped paying the rent.

    Looking back, Vicky would do things very differently.

    She says: "We've learnt that bad tenants are more likely to target sites like Gumtree because they hope they will be subjected to fewer checks. In the future, we'd always go through an agent - although even this has no guarantee. It's the law that needs to change to make landlords less vulnerable to unscrupulous tenants.” 

    Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action and Brand Ambassador of Hamilton Fraser, who stars in the show, knows all too well of these situations.

    He comments: “This guy is a serial bad tenant. He has been evicted previously after running up costs of £30,000 in unpaid rent and stolen furniture from an overseas landlord. In Vicky’s case, he used false references to secure the property.” 

    Paul wants this episode to act as a serious warning to landlords about using free classified websites to advertise their property to rent. “We’ve come across many similar cases in the past where we see serial bad tenants prey on less experienced landlords who let their properties on consumer websites. Unfortunately, the majority of these landlords are deceived by well educated con artists. With absolutely nothing in place to safeguard landlords, they find themselves in all sorts of trouble.” He says. 

    My advice would always be to use a credited letting agent who can let your property through the correct procedures and are up-to-date with all legislation in the private rented sector. However, for any landlords already using such sites then you need to be careful. Ensure you have thorough referencing checks done and look out for the telltale signs of a serial bad tenant. For example, are you being rushed by the tenant for them to move in as soon as possible?”

    “Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords” is a twelve part series on Channel 5. The programme delves into the dark side of the buy-to-let market showing the complexities landlords and tenants face on a daily basis.

    SEE ALSO  -       Spot the scam - unfolding in real time!

    UP NEXT -           Do you use Gumtree to find tenants? 

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    Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **5 reasons to get your FREE portfolio review NOW**

    Landlords can screen tenants by getting a report done on them at 192.com.Costs about £15.Checks for ccjs, looks the person up on the electoral register and you can see where they have lived.You need to get a record of their addresses for the past 5 years.Then check it to this report.

    Tell the tenant that you will be doing checks.This will scare off many fraudsters.


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    Gumtree seems to be simply dodgy for just about anything. I gave up using it years ago. I tried it when looking for jobs which all appeared to be some kind of scam. I would not allow my daughters to use it for anything be it accommodation, goods, services or jobs. Seems to me there is very little in the way of control,  vetting or recourse via this site.

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    My advice would always be to use a credited letting agent who can let your property through the correct procedures and are up-to-date with all legislation in the private rented sector

    What is 'a credited letting agent'? Does he mean an accredited LA. 

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