My daughter is the victim of a fraudulent letting agent – Help please

My daughter is the victim of a fraudulent letting agent – Help please

9:44 AM, 8th November 2016, About 5 years ago 39

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My daughter is the victim of a fraudulent letting agent . This is quite a complicated story, my daughter has a AST for a 12 month fixed term with a letting agency which turns out to be fraudulent! fraud

She paid three months rent plus a deposit upfront ( which hasn’t been protected ) which was never passed on to the landlord. The landlord says she doesn’t have an agreement with the letting agent that let the property to my daughter and other tenants.

The landlord says that the letting agent she has an agreement with(which is also bogus) has sublet to another letting agent ( the one my daughter has an agreement with ) without her permission!

The Landlord now wants the tenants to vacate the property ( there are 5 in total ) . The tenants have offered to negotiate with the landlord as they are happy in the property, but she is still asking them to vacate.

What rights if any,has my daughter and the other tenants in this instance ?

Will the landlord have to go down the usual eviction process, the tenants do not want to withhold rent but obviously don’t want to pass on any more rental payment to a bogus company!

Any help would be much appreciated.

Julia



Comments

by Gary Nock

20:30 PM, 8th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Dear all...am I missing something here..a landlord and / or solicitors wants tenants out and asks them for a date to vacate. Asks. Really? Unless they are 2 months in arrears no Section 8 can be served. If deposit has not been protected then no Section 21 can be served. I think the ball is in the landlords court here. They have failed to check who they have appointed as agents. A County Court Judge would have a field day on this in possession proceedings.

by Julia Banyard

21:52 PM, 8th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "08/11/2016 - 17:22":

Hi Mark
The LL letting agent was called Corp connections (fake company) , we believe they have ceased trading /disappeared !
We haven't contacted trading standards as we couldn't see how they would be able to help ,as this was a bogus company that has disappeared with the rent payments !
I'm referring to the person that let the property to my daughter as a letting agent as that is what we truthfully thought they were .But yes in actual fact they were just someone who thought they could make a quick buck ,unfortunately to the tenants and the LL misfortune !

by Julia Banyard

22:28 PM, 8th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "08/11/2016 - 20:30":

Hi Gary
Thanks for your comment .
The tenants at the moment are not behind with rent payments as they have proof that the rent was paid to the bogus LA but do need to pay rent in December . The tenants obviously don't want to forward any future payments to what they now know to be , a bogus company and if the LL will not negotiate with the tenants they will fall behind with rent payments ! Will this give the LL reason to serve the tenants with a section 8 notice for unpaid rent even though they have offered to pay rent direct to the LL !
We still have the issue of the deposit having not been protected ,but as this is a fraudulent case will the normal eviction procedures apply ?

by Gary Nock

23:02 PM, 8th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Hi Julia
Not being legally qualified I can only rely on my landlord and lettings experience over the last 14 years. There is only one way to evict a tenant. By order of a court. The complexity of the rental arrangement between the tenants and landlords in this case is somewhat uncertain to say the least. This uncertainty can work in the tenants favour. Notices served on tenants normally have to mirror the tenancy agreement. If not a Judge will.ask why. I think the best thing for the landlord in this case would be to sign a new tenancy agreement with the tenants and to come to some arrangement on the deposit. If a cheque is sent to the landlord on the rental date and they refuse to cash it then thats a matter for them. If they accept it then it creates in effect a new tenancy. It's a mess but I think it's more a mess for the landlord than the tenants.

by Julia Banyard

23:02 PM, 8th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Crampton Smith" at "08/11/2016 - 12:41":

Hi Mark
Thankyou for your comments.

My daughter has an AST but it has been signed by the bogus LA .The landlords name and address on the tenancy is that of the Bogus LA .
The property is over three floors and is in the wimbledon area of london but I am unsure whether it is in a selective or additional licensing area .
Some of the emails which the tenants received from the LL solicitor were quite bullying initially but seem to have taken on a slightly softer approach now .
As I have previously mentioned the tenants are due to make the next rental payment in Dec but obviously don't want to send more monies to a bogus company . My daughter is fearful that the LL will then issue a section 8 notice even though they have offered to negotiate with the LL to pay the rent directly to her !
The other issue that is upsetting her at the moment is ,that if this case reaches the courts ,will it affect her credit rating ?
Any help will be greatly appreciated .

by Mark Alexander

8:27 AM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

I have invited Romain Garcin to comment on this thread as I consider him to be an expert in tenancy law.

I would like Romain to comment on whether he considers that a tenancy actually exists in this case, and if not, what is the basis of occupation. If a tenancy does exist, how can this be if the person who granted the tenancy has no right to do so? Can anybody grant a tenancy on a property they do not own?

I would like to have a better understanding of exactly what has happened here. Has "fake agent #1" granted a tenancy to "fake agent #2" or has he assigned his management contract?
.

by Julia Banyard

8:49 AM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "09/11/2016 - 08:27":

Hi Mark
Thankyou so much for trying to get some clarification on this matter .
I can't be sure what fake agent #1 passed over to fake agent #2 and I'm pretty sure the LL doesn't know either !
All I know is ,after the tenants moved in there was a bed missing in the downstairs bedroom ,which after a couple of weeks was delivered by the fake agent #2 or a representative , the wifi was connected and paid by fake agent #2 ,but on a credit card (they did a few things that wouldn't make you suspect they were fake initially )and the tenants have since been disconnected ! Does this mean that perhaps they had been sublet fake full management ?

by John Frith

10:03 AM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

If, as Julia says, the landlords name and address on the tenancy is that of the Bogus LA, and the Bogus LA is unreachable to provide any proof of connection to the real landlord, then the contract is worthless, except as evidence of being duped into becoming, effectively squatters.

It seems best that the real landlord and the now tenants can accept that both sides have been duped and reach an amicable arrangement to stay on. As has been said, even though the tenants have no enforceable contract, they still have a lot of rights, so it's in the LL interest to sort this out amicably.

As the landlord was the first party to be duped (lesson learned - London LL especially should only deal with reputable agents), and handed over the keys to the fraudster, unfortunately for the landlord, most of the financial loss should rest with them.

by Mark Alexander

10:38 AM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frith" at "09/11/2016 - 10:03":

I agree with everything except your use of the word "squatter".

Squatting is illegal.
.

by Romain Garcin

10:55 AM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

This is clearly a tricky situation and legal advice from a knowledgeable solicitor should be sought (and I am not a solicitor).

I think that the tenants have a valid tenancy. It was mentioned that one agent had sublet to another so it is not clear what the arrangement between the landlord and the original agent is.

In case of unlawful sublet the tenancy the occupiers have would not be binding on the original landlord but he would still have to go to court to evict the occupiers.

If the situation is that those agents are indeed acting as agents then the tenant could pay the landlord directly. If the rent were accepted the landlord would no longer claim that he has nothing to do with the tenant.

Again, it would be very worthwhile to consult a knowledgeable solicitor.


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