Runaway letting agent disappears owing thousandsMake Text Bigger
Landlords and tenants are trying to track down a letting agent who has shut up shop leaving them thousands of pounds out-of-pocket.
Husband and wife team Mark and Samantha Hamilton-Smith stopped trading as The Property Showroom in Leeds on February 18.
The firm’s office in Town Street, Farsley, was closed without warning, computer equipment was stripped out and the doors locked.
The website is still online, mail is uncollected and telephones are connected but ring out.
Other nearby estate agents report visits to the offices by around 20 disgruntled landlords who have not received rents for up to three months – and they have no forwarding address or information about if they will be paid.
Some landlords have called from Switzerland and Australia.
Mr Hamilton-Smith is the sole director of Ayrton Properties Ltd, the firm trading as Property Showroom. His wife resigned as director and company secretary on January 30.
Property Showroom does not belong to any lettings industry client money protection, so few landlords are likely to see the return of any cash.
If tenant deposits are lodged on a protection scheme, the tenants can apply to have the money released.
The firm advertises membership of the Property Ombudsman Scheme and claims to follow the Office of Fair Trading code of conduct for letting agents.
Letting agents The National Property Group have offered to take on landlords abandoned by The Property Showroom and have waived administration fees for managing transferred properties.
“I’ve informed any landlords in difficulty that we’d be happy to take care of the handover and administration to take back control,” said spokesman Glenn Ackroyd. “We will waive all admin costs and do this free of charge.”
For more information contact The National Property Group or contact Glenn Ackroyd via this Private Messaging facility
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