Letting Agent Faces Criminal ProsecutionMake Text Bigger
Literally hundreds of media groups ran the story about the Property118 Action Group win handed down at the Court of Appeal yesterday. In fact, I cannot think of a major National or Regional Newspaper that didn’t cover the story. List HERE
Later this month, another legal action will come to trial which has been organised by Property118.
Mark Smith, the Barrister who acted for us in the case against West Brom will be leading in the private criminal prosecution of a director of quite a sizeable letting agency based in London.
I can’t reveal too many details of the man who will be in the dock right now for legal reasons. What I can tell you though is the the media are going to be hungry to get reaction to this story because it will inspire many other landlords and tenants across the UK to prosecute rogue agents who have misappropriated their rental income and/or deposit monies. Even though it is a private prosecution (no Police or CPS involvement) the Crown will pick up the costs associated with the trial regardless of whether the defendant is found to be innocent or guilty by the jury. In other words, the costs associated with bringing the case will be cost neutral to the victims regardless of the outcome.
THE PR OPPORTUNITY
The media always try to balance stories like this with tips on what consumers need to watch out for and what they can do to protect themselves. Prevention is always better than cure and we know that appointing an agent that carries Client Money Protection is absolutely vital these days. Another good tip is that both landlords and tenants should insist upon having a copy of their deposit protection certificate and prescribed information as soon as possible after the commencement of their tenancy. Further, if not received within 30 days they should be reaching for the panic button and contacting Property118 Action Group!
Whilst the private prosecution case referred to above is based in London, media across the UK are likely to carry the story and will be looking for a local angle beyond the fact that there are landlords and tenants in their area who should take note..
Given that Property118 was so active in respect of organising the case, it is highly likely that the media will approach letting agents who have backed the latest Property118 Action Group campaign for comments and consumer guidance, especially given the attention that our latest funding campaign has garnered on social media as well as in the mainstream Press. Our Press Release following the trial will be point to our latest fundraising campaign and direct the media to our list of backers as good sources for credible local commentary.
The easiest way for Letting Agents to piggy-back this PR opportunity is for them to act quickly to become a founder member of Property118 Action Group.
If you are aware of any letting agencies in your area which misappropriated client money prior to closing down please let us know via our sister website http://privateprosecutions.org/ Even if the agency was a limited company which is now in liquidation, and even if the case was years ago, we can still go after the Directors, and if they have personal assets the Court has powers to seize these in order to compensate victims.
We have honoured those who helped us to fight the campaign against the West Brom by keeping the name given to them in Court, the Property118 Action Group….. details
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