Before 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 (all agents are legally obligated to be registered with one).
- 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?
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger, I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any advice I give is my opinion based on my experience, and is never legal or professional advice. You should always get professional advice on any legal and financial matters!