Rent money paid but letting agent cannot find it?

by Readers Question

10:40 AM, 17th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Rent money paid but letting agent cannot find it?

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Rent money paid but letting agent cannot find it?

This is a strange one ,my Tenant has paid the letting agent, so she told me so I asked for bank statements to prove this story and from that I see she has paid.

But the letting agent says she is in arrears by£1534.45, so they will not pay me.

They say her Bank did not put a reference on the money when it was sent so don’t know if it has been paid?

Johnbank



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:55 AM, 17th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi John,

The good news is that unless it is cash it is almost impossible to lose money as there is always a trace.

First off the agents need to check their bank account around the dates provided for the exact amount paid. This is not difficult even without a reference.

It is possible even if you have seen the payment going out by the tenants that this was returned for some reason.

The tenant could have input the wrong bank details but this is unlikely as it would not have gone out without the sort code and account number matching an active account or they could have accidentally hit the button for another account that they regularly pay and sent it to the wrong person.

If the agents have checked and definitely not received the money the tenant will just need to contact the bank and find out what happened to the transaction and where it went.

I have paid the wrong person before which is not the banks fault and had to contact that company cap in hand to arrange a refund.

I hope that helps.

Steve From Leicester

14:11 PM, 17th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hmmm.

I'm an agent and have about 500 rents coming in every month. Sometimes a tenant will send in a payment with no reference and we haven't the foggiest who it is for. When this happens we park it in a suspense account.

What happens next is that we chase a tenant for his rent arrears and he says "but I paid it direct to your bank account". A bit of questioning to confirm the exact date, the exact amount and the method of payment (over the counter, on line bill payment, standing order etc) and hey presto, we find it sitting in the suspense account and allocate it accordingly.

In short then, if the tenant has genuinely made a payment and provides the exact date, amount and payment method there should be no reason at all why the agent can't trace it.

Another possibility is that the tenant sent the payment to the wrong person by mistake - maybe they got a digit wrong in the account number or sort code which just happened to relate to a live account. They need to check with their bank precisely what sort code and account number they quoted on the payment and double check it is correct. If they've sent it to the wrong person that's their problem to sort out with their bank and meanwhile the rent remains outstanding.

Next possibility is that they got a sort code or account number digit wrong and sent it to a non-existent account. If so they'll need to ask their bank to trace it. I've known money disappear into a black hole for weeks when this happens, but its the tenant's problem and the rent still needs to be paid.

Next possibility is that they made the payment but due to insufficient funds the bank recalled it. If that happened there'll be a "contra" entry a day or two later on the tenant's statement. Did you actually see a full statement or just a snapshot showing the individual transaction?

Final possibility (and, speaking as an agent, hopefully the least likely) is that the agent has nicked the money, or been so incompetent that they've received it but can't trace it.

Sam Addison

18:34 PM, 17th April 2015
About 4 years ago

I seem to recall stories about some agents in London collecting rents and not passing them on. Are you sure you can trust your agent?


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