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  • Landlords in Distress

    Lettings agent fraud & how to avoid it



    Welcome to the final day of "Property Fraud Awareness Week" which is powered by our legal partner, Anthony Gold Solicitors and where we have joined forces to promote public awareness of how to avoid becoming a victim of property-related fraud.

    There has been a marked rise in property related fraud - “sellers” who do not own the property; bogus agents taking deposits for tenancies that do not exist and massive returns being offered for investments in property that will never yield any form of return.

    This week has focussed on prevention as well as cure.

    Today, Solicitor David Smith gives some insights into lettings agent fraud:



    As mentioned in the video, a very simple way to avoid this type of fraud is find a reputable agent.  All agents, by law, have to be a member of one of the 3 Government approved redress schemes.

    The Property Redress Scheme is our partner scheme.

    You should also look for agents who are voluntarily committing to professional standards by being a member of an industry body such as NALS, ARLA, or RICS.

    Finally, you should only let through lettings agents who have client money protection, and you can find these via SAFEagent . (Mandatory client money protection is coming). 

    Our lettings partner Northwood meets all of these criteria.

    Find out more about finding a reputable lettings agent:

    How to vet a lettings agent ... 12 questions to ask

    The week so far ....

    Monday              An overview of property fraud & warning signs

    Tuesday             Mentor, JV, property deals, and loans scams

    Wednesday        Rent to Rent scams

    Thursday            Identity fraud - rental property perspective 

    You can contact Anthony Gold Solicitors on 0207 940 4060.​

    Property Tribes has been at the forefront of creating a safer sector.  

    Back in May 2009, we published How to avoid becoming property shark bait which has hopefully saved many people from financial loss.  

    Despite this, many people continue to fall for marketing hype and think they can buy a ticket to see a Unicorn. That is why "Property Fraud Awareness Week" is much needed and we hope it will educate people to make wise choices of how they "invest" their money in the property sector, whether that be in deals, mentoring, training, or other money-making schemes.

    Finally, if you believe you have been a victim of a scam or a fraud, here are some ways of seeking redress:



    Thank you to Anthony Gold for powering our "Property Fraud Awareness Week".  Please contact them on 020 7940 4060 if you require any support with fraud or scam issues.

    SEE ALSO  -          Agent states no contact with tenants or rent

    UP NEXT -              1,018,100 reasons to vet a lettings agent
     
    DON'T MISS -         Letting Agent gone into liquidation

    NOW WATCH:

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    An agent has been sent to prison after he and his former girlfriend admitting to stealing £92,000 from tenants and landlords.

    His ex-girlfriend has been given a suspended sentence.

    Peter Bell ran the Enfields franchise in Northampton, where it is understood that Rebecca Kirton also worked for a short while.

    Bell admitted 15 charges of theft and dishonesty, while she admitted four charges. The money, thought to be mainly deposits but some rent, totalled £92,000.

    Full/source story

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    A letting agent responsible for managing a large buy-to-let portfolio in Norwich has been handed a 20-month suspended sentence for two years after stealing close to £100,000 from a landlord.

    Norwich Crown Court was told how Stephen Webster, 38, who ran The Letting Business, stole the cash from the landlord whose properties he was meant to manage, in order to fund his drug and alcohol addiction.

    The theft was discovered after the landlord expressed concern at the way his portfolio of 95 properties was being managed by The Letting Business.

    After an accountant looked at the figures, it was discovered a total of £97,498 was missing, and so the landlord reported the matter to the police.

    Full/source story - Landlord Today

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    An agent says that bogus ‘pop-up’ firms are repeatedly springing up, raking in high six-figure sums and then doing a bunk – typically leaving 20-40 landlords and tenants in the lurch after losing rents and deposits.

    Jonathan Werth, managing director of LiFe Residential in London, says the problem has blown up again in the last three months, but that he has been aware of it for three years.

    Full/source story - Property Industry Eye

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    Another LA in Ilford has done a bunk with deposit and rent monies

    if I ever used a LA there is simply no way would I allow a LA  to have anything  to do with my deposits or rents.

    I'm amazed that so many LL  trust these LA.

    it is perfectly possible to still use a LA  for management  but with them having nothing to do with rent or deposits.

    They can invoice the LL  for monthly management  charges  just like any other business  does

    Some businesses aren't paid for 90 days!!!

    Even with redress schemes  it would take time to recover rent and deposit monies.

    I refuse to allow such monies to be anywhere other than my bank account.

    I'm very surprised  so many LL  seem to trust LA with so much money.


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