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Hi, I am a landlord in Leeds, and together with 3 other landlords we have just found that a letting agent we have used over the past 3 years has (contrary to showing proof) not registered deposits and has spent the money.One landlord got her to confess. Her business has suddenly shut down although she has lied to say she has sold it, which we believe is not the case. The total we believe stolen between 4 of us alone is circa £25,000.
I have contacted the police on 101 to report theft / fraud but they did not really seem interested and said it is a civil matter. I doubt we are going to get our money back but we would like to see justice.
Please could anyone advise what the best starting point would be?
I would suggest you contact Trading Standards.If the business is shut down then it depends whether she is a sole trader in which case you could sue her or if it is a company in which case you need to find out who is winding it up.You should also check if she has some form of client money protection and see if they can help.
Thank you, I will give Trading Standards a call also, guess they may advise how to get the police to be more co-operative or how to engage them properly..
David has presented a video on this topic:
This highlights the importance of vetting a letting agent properly:How to vet a lettings agent ... 12 questions to ask
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
Some useful pointers here:Agent who stole tenants’ deposits to pay for gambling habit is spared jail Perhaps start a facebook group "Victims of [name of agency]" and try and gather together more affected landlords.There is strength in numbers.
Thank you, I am gaining other Landlords details. I suspect she could have misappropriated £30 - £40k in total
Well done. The more people affected and the more money gone missing, the more likely the police will get involved.They will only take on cases like this when they are sure they will get a prosecution, so the more evidence and victims you can curate, the better imho.
Were the deposits protected - if in the insured scheme the scheme will pay out.
It is fraud and you need to continue to report it to the police and ask for a crime number, and others affected should use the same number. If the police prosecute expect it to take a few years to get to court.
The greater the number affected and who report it to the police the more likely to be taken seriously.
Thanks - she provided us with copy tenancies which stated the amount of deposit and that they were protected with DPS. However she did not lodge them with DPS...
I contacted the Police and explained the situation but they were a bit dismissive - I don't really understand why but will keep trying
DPS have a deposit scheme and an insured scheme where the agent may have paid a premium and then allowed to keep the money in their own account, check if this was used.
Check if your local police force allows you to report a crime online and get a crime number that way.
I am shocked by this post. To be a landlord, sometimes, it is high risk.
I would like to clarify that the following points:
1. Lodging with DFS may take a long time (in terms of months?)
2. Follow the Civil Procedures may take even longer (but, I have heard that there is an online Civil Procedures, which may save some times). Does it work?