Is Your Letting Agent Holding Deposits Or Failing To Pass On Rent?

Pay upBefore you get bent out of shape and start raging at your tenant for failing to pass on rent, it’s probably best to make sure your tenant is the actual cock-face that is breaking the chain of making rental payments.

Recently a pompous-arse rogue letting agent in Oxfordshire was raided after several dozen landlords and tenants complained about missing rent and deposit payments. Basically, tenants were paying rent on time to the agent, but the agent was failing to pass it onto the landlord. The agent was also holding security deposits, refusing to return them to the tenants. You can read the full story here, on the Oxford Mail website

Moral of the story, it’s not always the tenant that’s playing the cowboy role when the rent isn’t being paid.

The offices of James C Penny estate and letting agents, in Walton Street, Jericho, went under a six-month investigation after about 50 complaints were made by tenants and landlords concerning missing money. It is believed the complaints could total hundreds of thousands of pounds in rent and deposits.

It’s an interesting story, and I imagine they’re not the only agent in the country failing to pass on rent to the landlord.

Are you a victim?

If you’re a landlord/tenant that is experiencing similar problems, you’re advised to contact trading standards on 0845 051 0845. The more complaints the better, and the stronger and more urgent the case becomes. So if you know of others experiencing the same problem regarding the same agency, it’s best if they complain as best. Build an army.

Ways of preventing this from happening

  • The most obvious solution would be to cut out of the middle man. Don’t bother using letting agents, and take control yourself.
  • Letting agents offer several packages; they usually offer a package which means the landlord is responsible for collecting rent, while the agent still manages the property. Take that option. Additionally, that’s usually a cheaper option than full-management, where letting agents take full control.
  • Get the agent to use an external Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
  • Only use Letting Agents that are registered with An Approved Redress Scheme For Consumer Protection
  • Use letting agents that are part of a client money protection scheme. All agents regulated by ARLA/NFOPP, the Law Society, NALS and RICS maintain and operate separate designated client accounts where your money is held completely separate from the operating funds of the firm. If the agent you are using cannot provide you with the assurance of knowing they are covered by a client money protection scheme the question you need to ask is why not? More details on client money protection scheme

Has anyone experienced this kind of thing before, or know anyone who has been through this issue?

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82 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 32 - 82 comments (out of 82)
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andy 12th March, 2011 @ 22:00

Thank you Roberta
Further to my recent post on here, the letting agent yet again failed to put in januarys rent, but fortunately i managed to ring the mortgage company in time, to which they did actually state that littigation papers have been written, but i managed to pay them an amount to keep that from happening, I really do want rid of the letting agent now, they a causing no end of problems for me and i am incuring large charges from both mortgage and bank for non payments,I rang the letting agent furious that this had happened again!!! and they sorted out the rent but gave me no explanation as to why this had happened nor did they appologise, absolutely disgusted!!!!!!!.

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roberta 12th March, 2011 @ 22:48

May be a stupid question, but have you checked your agreement with the agent? It sounds like they have broken it, in which case you can sack them - in writing. Why don't you ask the tenant to pay you direct? The agents dont 'own' the tenant either- no matter what they say.

I would suggest getting a legal letter written detailing all the charges and issues and submitting to the agent. Depending on the value, ( if under 5k for example) then you can issues a small claims and threaten to take them to court. With a small claim they have to respond within 14 days too. I would definitely go for some legal assistance though.
hope you get it sorted.

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mr andrews 13th March, 2011 @ 08:24

I have also had problems with Thomas and Company Rentals Northampton and Milton Keynes, they owe me rent and do not return my calls.They should be hung up and left out to dry. They have stolen from me and need to be bought to task. Lock them up or take things from their homes of value if any. They need naming and shaming.

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vanitha Teja 13th March, 2011 @ 16:49

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Anon 25th May, 2011 @ 17:40

Interestingly enough, I used to work at Romeo Bater.

I am also owed monies but gave up a long time ago.

Richard was too inexperienced and lacked the knowledge and business acumen to start and sustain a sucessful company. He was not malicious or vengeful and certainly didnt do it deliberately.

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Amar 14th July, 2011 @ 15:41

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Amar 14th July, 2011 @ 15:44

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richard bird 17th August, 2011 @ 22:02

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Vanitha Teja 18th August, 2011 @ 16:46

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richard bird 19th August, 2011 @ 20:48

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David Sweeting 31st August, 2011 @ 07:08

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richard bird 31st August, 2011 @ 21:31

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Amar 1st September, 2011 @ 08:40

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richard bird 1st September, 2011 @ 18:56

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Brian Cox 7th September, 2011 @ 12:33

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The Landlord 7th September, 2011 @ 16:20

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Amar 7th September, 2011 @ 16:29

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David 8th September, 2011 @ 09:42

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Beverly 15th September, 2011 @ 21:50

I paid a large security deposit for a three night flat rental through a London based estate agent called Real Link Home Services. My daughter (age 16) and her cousin (also a young girl) arrived by train from Scotland at midnight. They had called and emailed several times and had been assured that someone would meet them to give them the keys. After 90 minutes they gave up and spent virtually all their money on getting a hotel. They felt unsafe waiting, and the estate agent had turned his phone off after the first time they called him to let him know that they were waiting.
He was in Spain apparently, and had entrusted the key to someone who just didn't go to meet them.
We are now waiting for our deposit back. I am furious- that our daughter was scared, that Real Link Home Services is so shoddy, that we are now dealing with this. We also paid HEFTY bank fees to transfer the money to the US-based flat owner.

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richard bird 16th September, 2011 @ 23:33

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Amar 19th September, 2011 @ 08:35

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Beverly 23rd September, 2011 @ 18:33

Just to follow up on my comment from a few days ago - Real Link Home Services, London Relocation, and all the many people who are 'temporarily in Cardiff' or somewhere, and need to rent their apartment to a 'responsible person' etc- they're all scams.
There are a number of postings and blogs about them.
I have put in a complaint with craigslist and the FTC bureau in the US to try to shut this activity down.

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Peter Cook 16th November, 2011 @ 16:58

Does anyone know what has happened to that prat Romeo Bater/Richard James Davies... He ran off with 2 of my tenants deposits...

Is he still cowardly whinging that he is hard done by, but really sipping cocktails on some white sandy beach?

Even if your company went bust, the deposits should be protected. This makes you a petty little criminal and if you are found you will be facing a hefty stretch.

Show your face little man... Show your face!

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David 20th November, 2011 @ 11:51

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David 20th November, 2011 @ 16:16

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Amar 21st November, 2011 @ 12:10

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David 24th January, 2012 @ 19:03

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Glen M 13th March, 2012 @ 18:13

Hello.

I am currently in a dispute with my letting agent over fees and said to them that when the current AST ends I will be managing the property myself. I respectfully asked them not to contact the tenants once my new AST was in place and that the dispute between me and the agent must be separate. My tenants are happy however the agent is hassling them for rent (even though they are paying me now) and the agent has demanded a copy of the new AST I hold with the tenant.

Is an agent allowed to do this? I am settling the dispute without getting the tenants involved but the agent keeps calling the tenants.

Thank you in advance.
G

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Jeremy 13th March, 2012 @ 22:37

Hello Glen M.

Depends upon the agreement you have with the agent and the reason for the dispute.

I would expect the agent to have a clause saying they "own" your tenant. "Own" as in own the continuing right to extract a fee from theor ongoing occupation of the house: i.e. you can't cut the agent out to take their commission once they've done the work of getting the tenant in.

It also depends upon the seriousness of the dispute.

I can understand why they would want to continue taking the rent in the initial period: They'll deduct their fee before paying you the balance. No idea how they would benefit from seeing the new AST.

Maybe you could offer us a bit more story over the dispute.

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Glen D 14th March, 2012 @ 08:06

Hello Jeremy.

Thanks for getting back to me.

The story is, 6 months ago I appointed an agent to find a tenant and manage a property. On moving day the agent did not even know they were managing the property which wasted a day for the tenants. For the first two months we had nothing but problems with the agents, they wouldn't return calls, no inventory, no viewings, I had to do it all myself! I needed an agreement between myself and the agent for my mortgage company and it took 2 months to get that document to me after me pestering them nearly every day for it!

Once the agreement came through I amended 2 clauses which states there would be a 6 month fee if the management was to transfer away from the agent. I amended it to state that due to ongoing problems, the 6 month penalty would be waived. We both signed the agreement and they never contested it.

After the 6 month AST ended with the agent I told them I would manage the property myself and put in place my own AST. The tenants (who are great by the way) want to deal with me personally and have happily signed the AST now that the agents AST has ended.

The agent is demanding 6 months termination penalty fee and 2 month notice fee. I will happily pay the 2 months but as per the contract will not pay the 6 months penalty. I have asked the agent not to contact the tenants but the agent has called them twice demanding rent and a copy of the new AST. The agent also refuses to release the deposit (which is in DPS) to the tenant.

I have also got a signed Section 21 from the agent and the tenant which states 6 months from the start of the tenancy, they should vacate the property. I assume this is void now a new AST is in place?

Sorry for the essay. I really do appreciate the advice.
Glen

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Jeremy 14th March, 2012 @ 19:57

Hello Glen,

Thanks for the story. My thoughts are:

- If I'd got service as bad as this I would not even be paying a two month fee, so I think you'r being realy generous here. Too generous?

- The Section 21 notice is not void. They are due to vacate, in a purly legal sense, from occupying the property under one agreement (the original AST). They have another agreement (the new AST) which allows them to occupy immediately thereafter. And hey presto, no one has to physically move out.

- Contact the DPS (I find them helpful people to talk with) and tell them you have a problem with an agent who is refusing to trigger the release of a deposit at the end of a tenancy. After all you have the Section 21 notice to prove the tenancy has ended!! Also explain to them that there is a new tenancy agreement in place and can the deposit be immediately "recycled" into a deposit held with the details of just you two. The DPS will probably require something in writing from your tenants to confirm its OK to do this.

Hope this helps.

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Glen D 20th March, 2012 @ 07:59

Hi Jeremy

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Thank you for the reply, it's very helpful!

The service was awful. They just couldn't be bothered to do anything but now the tenancy is in my hands I am making sure that everything is above board and most importantly, the tenants are happy.

That's good news about the section 21. It will come in handy as ammo if I ever need it from the agent.

I have spoken to the DPS to explain the situation. They were very helpful and said if my tenants and myself send a letter to them explaining the issue then they will reissue the deposit id in my name and automatically cut the agent out the picture.

Just an update. A letter has been sent to the agent making an offer of 2 months and a few bits of information stating our case. Just waiting for a reply.

Thanks for your advice Jeremy. Really appreciate :)

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Glen 26th March, 2012 @ 13:20

Just an update for Jeremy. The agent has accepted the offer, will return all paperwork and transfer the deposit!

Thanks for your advice.

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Jeremy 28th March, 2012 @ 22:11

Hello Glen. That's great news, I'm really pleased for you. Well done!! Jeremy.

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CSW 15th August, 2012 @ 21:49

Its really interesting reading all of your stories. I have been having problems with an agent in Colliers Wood, London. They are on average 3 months behind in transferring the rent to my account and have missed payments 3 times. I have written to them time and time again regarding this and have eventually recovered the payments (the tenants always paid on time (the estate agent confirmed this).

I obviously do not want these agents to manage the property any more as they cannot be trusted. Do I still have to give them 2 months notice that I do not want them to manage the property any longer or can this be reduced as they have not adhered to their terms of business? I have not done this yet as I only received the final payment today. I thought if I handed in the notice I wouldnt see the money for a long time! Also, one of the payments that was missing was 529 days late and the rest were on average 80 days late. Can I claim for the interest on these amounts and if so how would I work it out? I doubt that I will see the money but I will take them to the small claims court if I have to. I have incurred overdraft interest charges due to these problems and they have also been very rude in sorting this whole matter out.

I will be glad to not to have to deal with them any longer! Any advice is appreciated. Thanks :)

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Julie 20th September, 2012 @ 03:10

I have recently come to the end of a tenancy and realised the deposit was not submitted, the deposit has been returned in full. Although there were damages. The tenant seems on a mission to pursue me for compensation for non submission even though their deposit has been returned. Do they have a case?

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Alison 8th August, 2013 @ 11:44

Hi,

I'm currently having problems with a letting agent ignoring requests from a deposit protection scheme (mydeposits) to release the deposit to them when requested to do so.

The background to this is that when the tenants vacated my property a few months ago as I decided to sell it, they took with them items that I had left there with which for them to maintain the property (gardening and decorating tools). I contacted the agents to request the return of the items only for the tenants to deny that they had ever been there. When it was pointed out to them that these items were on the inventory they then changed their mind and said they thought they had permission to take them. Anyway, the matter has been reported to the police and I requested the agents deduct the replacement cost of the stolen items from their deposit. The tenants then raised a dispute with the deposit company who contacted the agent to release the deposit to them in accordance with the dispute resolution service. The agents have repeatedly ignored requests from mydeposits and myself to do this and I'm now in a position where I am being told that as I am the landlord (eventhough the letting agreement was between the letting agent and the tenant as they were providing a full management service...collecting deposit/rent etc etc), then refund or partial refund of the deposit will be MY responsibility if the letting agent doesn't release the money. This applies eventhough this money was collected and retained by the letting agent and has never passed through my hands.

I have to say the overall service provided by the agent has been apalling from day 1...from them failing to pass on rent to calling a plumber out when the tenant had caused a flood by over-filling the bath!

Has anyone else had a similar experience or have any advice on what I can do here please?

Your replies would be much appreciated.

Thank you

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Rose SMith 3rd September, 2013 @ 11:58

Can anyone give me advice on liability on rent deposits taken by a letting agent on my behalf, then the agents goes into liquidation and the deposits have not been paid in.
The tenants are not asking me to compensate them for these amounts, and I am wondering is it really up to me to do this when I was paying the letting agent to manage the properties and it is he who is breach of promise.

Does anyone know the legal law on this?

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Manda 28th November, 2013 @ 09:04

I want to know if anyone else has been taken for a ride by Elaine who handed two of my properties to a Chinese gang to grow cannabis in. If so is anyone taking action against her. I heard that she is back in the UK from her foreign travels.

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Anne 16th December, 2013 @ 04:53

Because I have not received the rent from the Agent I am going to issue him with a Form 4.1 Insolvency Demand which he has 21 days to respond to or I can apply for a winding up order. Not only did they install a tenant who was supposed to be a single parent and fail to pass on the information that her partner was bankrupt and a criminal so landing me with an unsuitable tenant, they are now not passing on the rent payment, hence the form. I have also asked for them to transfer over the deposit into the DPS under my ID number which legally they cannot refuse.

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jacqui 19th January, 2014 @ 16:40

My letting agent has not passed any of my bond back and refuses to answer calls or messages sent/left. There are no issues with back rent, cleanliness etc- I paid a professional cleaner to do everything to ensure it was actually cleaner than when I moved in!

It is now 7 weeks and I haven't heard anything from Lytham Estate Agents Lettings, It does not look like they registered the deposit and certainly haven't complied with the law.

Where can I report them? Trading Standards?

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Mary Jones 26th January, 2014 @ 21:35

I have been with a letting agent who where really good in the beginning - after giving six months notice to return my property they are refusing to talk to me or even pay rent due - I would like to solve this myself is this possible? Should I pay them a visit. Please help the Agency are no longer responding to my emails or phone calls… I’m really frustrated

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Susan 2nd August, 2014 @ 20:43

Firstly people are not naming the agents responsible on this forum and they should be, because if they are guilty they need naming and shaming.
Secondly, for Mary Jones, I would say get in touch with Trading Standards and tell them what is happening and also with the Citizens Advice Bureau. You have rights to your property and the agent is only managing it for you.
You can take them to court most likely, but you need to get advice. They should soon respond to a letter from a legal representative.
I would like to know who these Lettings Agents are so we can all avoid them if need be.
I hope JNP Partnership is not one of them.

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Paula 8th August, 2015 @ 17:53

I own a property in Joint Tenancy with my ex-husband. I signed a 12 month Guaranteed Rent Agreement with BTC LETTING AND MANAGEMENT AGENT, Southgate, London. Since placing a Tenant
in the property BTC has not paid any rent to me and is refusing to pay rent. They are arguing that because the property is owned Jointly they will not pay me the rent until I or my ex husband give them a Solicitor's letter stating which party is legally responsible for receiving the rent.
I have written to the Agent informing them that they either pay me or vacate the tenant from the property. They are refusing to do so.Is this legal and what is my form of re-address?

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Amy Trumpeter 26th February, 2016 @ 11:33

Yes, this has happened to me - I went to confront my tenants about no rent - when I got there I had different tenants in my property to who were supposed to be in there, and I had received no contract. LETTINGS4ALL in OLDHAM failed to pass on paid rent to me from April 2015 - December 2015 and they claim to have kept the money for repairs works, from what I can see none of them have been done or they have not been done to a professional standard. My ceiling has now collapsed and property un-lettable.

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Arjun 21st May, 2016 @ 15:27

Yes. This happened to me about 4 years ago. The letting agency 'View Residential Lettings' based in bury scammed me for over 7k in rental. They were taking the money from the tenant but not paying me. Since then the owner Karl Brown has liquidated the company and moved on with no consequence. He has now setup another company PMA agency portfolio management based in manchester, and is probably ripping off somebody else. A shame but it seems like these people are above the law and very little can be done about it.

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Kim Thacker 12th August, 2016 @ 13:01

Hi... Company LGR (London guaranteed Rent) also trading as One up Rooms and Momentum Property Investment Partners has been managing my properties while I was out of the country due to family illness. Richard Seymour the director personally met and promised me that all would be taken care of and even signed contracts to that effect. Now a year on, hubby visited and found... illegal partitions, no council notices answered, rooms rather than houses being rented and no rent received this last month. They have vacated their offices and now no longer have a website etc... no one answers phones and just one big disaster. Can't get houses away from them because can't serve notice as address a dudd... and hubby is due to fly back soon... any advice please?

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EJR 26th November, 2016 @ 22:34

Kim, I'm an ex-tenant of LGRs and they have withheld my deposit after checking out in Spring 2016. I've been trying to serve on LGR (and Richard) too but he is trying to close down the company. Have you had any joy?

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Kim Thacker 27th November, 2016 @ 18:15

I had not been paid for 3 months and finally took matters into my own hands and managed to remove all the tenants personally at great personal expense. Richard Seymour is not closing the company... he is busy buying properties in Spain and the company here is managed by Oscar Anthony King, Tom, Paul Smith, Christina, Sam and a few other unscrupulous people. The list of problems these people have created for me is endless and a suggestion would be to close that chapter in.your life and move forward peacefully... its exactly what I've had to do to keep my sanity! If it's any consolation... my loss was in the thousands... I know it is your own hard earned money... and it's not easy to walk away from... but what price do you put on your peace? I have lots of tenants who have been bit by these people.

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Arbiter 30th November, 2016 @ 12:05

Seymour is linked by other directorships to these people
https://www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/News/Group-of-criminals-fined-for-running-dodgy-lets.aspx

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