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  • Property-a-holics

    Nightmare agent with no CMP = double trouble



    Welcome to Day 4 of SAFEagent Awareness Week 2017.

    This week, over 3,000 professional lettings agents across the UK will unite for the annual SAFEagent Awareness Week – highlighting to consumers the importance of choosing a professional agent who is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.

    Client money protection is set to become mandatory, but until it does, landlords' and tenants' rents and unprotected deposits are at risk!

    This is the 6th anniversary of the campaign, which grows and gains momentum every year.

    The week has the objective of reminding consumers that their finances are at risk if their chosen agent does not have client money protection in place.

    Earlier on this week, we reported a case study involving an agent who stole £140K of client money.

    Tonight, with great timing for SAFEagent Awareness Week, a TV programme looks at the issue of using an agent with no client money protection.

    Airing at 9.00pm tonight, Channel Five’s “Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords” will highlight why Client Money Protection is of paramount importance to all landlords and tenants, as a rogue agent in Ilford fails to pass on rent or carry out sufficient referencing, leading to a sub-letting scam via a Romanian property website.

    When IT consultant Doni Soeyono decided to invest his hard-earned savings in a property, he thought it was best to use a letting agent to avoid the headache of any potential nightmare tenants. But from the outset, all was not what it seemed.

    Almost immediately, Doni found himself on the backfoot with his rent arriving consistently late, if at all, and his requests for information ignored. Just as he thought things couldn’t get any worse, he discovered that the agent had not carried out proper referencing and his house was being sub-let on a Romanian website to tenants who have no intention of leaving.

    When confronted by eviction specialist Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action about their shortcomings, including poor referencing and not passing on rent, the agent proceeded to lock Paul in the office.

    Despite this, the Landlord Action team recovered the rent for the landlord before the company folded. Sadly other landlords and tenants who used the same agent were not so lucky, defrauded out of thousands of pounds in rent and deposits.

    Mr Shamplina comments: “This is a particularly difficult case. Not only is the poor landlord battling with rogue tenants residing in his property through a sub-letting scam, he is also fighting against an unscrupulous agent which has failed in every aspect of their duty of care. 

    It is so important that landlords and tenants ask their agent if they have Client Money Protect (CMP) insurance so that if the business closes, their money is protected. If the answer is no, do not use them. There is a common misconception that landlord and tenant money is protected by law (YouGov Poll) but this is not the case, so the sooner CMP is mandatory, hopefully next year, the better.


    Doni Soeyono now faces months of trying to evict his tenants.

    Watch this week’s episode of “Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords” (18th May, 9pm on Channel 5) to find out if Paul Shamplina and his team manage to have Doni’s case transferred to the High Court and get his property back.

    This year's campaign is run with the good news that, in March 2017, the Government announced that it intends to make CMP mandatory for all letting agents.

    Until it does, SAFEagents have your best interests at heart.

    The 2017 campaign will see SAFE once again sponsoring PropertyTribes.com for the duration of SAFEagent Awareness Week.

    Industry supporters include Endsleigh Insurance, DPS, the Property Ombudsman, and TDS.

    The Government has also given its support to SAFEagent Awareness Week since its launch in 2011 and with the SAFEagent logo appearing in their “How to Rent” guide.

    Please join in with the community campaign next week to spread awareness of client money protection.

    You can find your nearest SAFEagent >>> here. 

    SEE ALSO  -           How to vet a lettings agent ... 12 questions to ask

    UP NEXT -               Lettings agent fraud & how to avoid it

    DON'T MISS -         1,018,100 reasons to vet a lettings agent

    NOW WATCH:    

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    Am I missing something here!

    Why would any LL use  LA that DIDN'T have CMP!!!!!????

    Wouldn't they be setting themselves up for a possibly almighty fall.

    A LL who uses a LA without CMP in place must be a complete fool!!!

    Talk about walking about with a big target on your back!!!?

    There seem to be an awful lot of idiot LL out there that have no idea how to run a business!!?

    No CMP is like giving a LA access to your bank account to take what he wants with impunity!!

    A very strange business practice!!

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    If an agent is planning on stealing your cash (and others) why would they maintain CMP Insurance payments.
    Isn't any agent just a cancelled direct debt away from being a "Nightmare Agent".

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    Looking for the Best BTL Mortgage? Call the Specialist Team at Bespoke Finance. The above is not financial advice, its me rambling - just passing time on a coffee break.

    Yep I have always thought that about CMP.

    How can a LL check the LA has renewed the policy!!?

    These and many other issues are the reasons I would NEVER allow a LA to control my deposits or rents.

    It seems very few LA have a business model of invoicing for monthly charges

    Which makes me believe that without the free cashflow of rent and deposits many LA are unviable.

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    Exactly. Renewal or even breaking contract terms such as ensuring money is segregated. How's a landlord to know? How safe is the safeagent logo?

    Still lean on proven methods of personal guarantees, due diligence and short contractual payment term (why let agents hold cash).

    Or self manage rents.

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    Looking for the Best BTL Mortgage? Call the Specialist Team at Bespoke Finance. The above is not financial advice, its me rambling - just passing time on a coffee break.

    If you read the story about the agent who stole £140K (linked to above), the client money protection scheme paid out, and no landlord or tenant lost any money.

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    Interesting and how long did it take for CMP to pay out!?

    I can access my tenants deposits and rents at the click of a mouse.

    So I can pay the mortgage on time.

    I would hazard a guess that CMP takes a little bit longer to payout than the click of a mouse!!???

    .By which time the damage has been done to credit records etc.

    LL should only use LA if there is no realistic alternative.

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    I operate as an agent in a small way and I have no CMP because I do not handle any client money. Payments are made by tenants into the landlords' accounts, and I offer to monitor rent payments if the landlord client chooses to give me access to the relevant account (this can be limited access only allowing me to see transactions, but not make any payments).

    I invoice the landlord for any fees due to me.

    It works well. I trust the landlord and the landlord trusts me. If the agent and their landlord client don't consider each other trustworthy they shouldn't be doing business with each other.

    So compulsory CMP - which will serve to add to the agent's and thus the landlord's costs is not the only way to go in my view.

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    It is a great shame ALL LA don't operate like you.

    I would use you precisely because of the way you do business.

    You operate how I believe all LA should.

    I would expect that with rent being paid to landlord accounts it should be the LL that checks rent receipt and then confirms to you by email that rent has been paid.

    This assists you to manage the tenancy

    It is no hardship  for the LL to send such advice to the LA.

    You are first LA that operates how I prefer.

    Indeed rather than invoicing there would be the normal monthly charge which I would have no issue with paying on a SO basis.

    Anything extra could be invoiced.

    If I ever need a LA I hope there is one that operates like you.

    The icing on the cake would be if your referencing and RGI was via LRS!!

    Cos if not I would have to use them to do the referencing

    They can do the lit for £124

    So I'd expect to pay you £150 when the LA fee ban comes in or rather I'd expect the tenant to buy their own TRP and show it to you and then go for RGI.

    But I really like your business model

    It cuts out most of the financial risk and saves you having CMP.

    I doubt you have many LL refusing your request that they receive the rent money and hold the deposit funds!!!!!???

    You offer excellent good practice.

    Just a shame most LA don't operate like you.

    Perhaps they may when the LA fee ban is introduced.


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