What to do if your letting agent goes bust

What to do if your letting agent goes bust

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What to do if your letting agent goes bust

What to do if your letting agent goes bustLandlords are regularly falling victim to rogue letting agents who suddenly shut up shop and take their money and run.

The two most common scenarios are a letting agent facing business difficulties closing down with money owing to landlords and tenants or some who are plain thieves milking their business bank accounts for as much as they can before they are caught.

Either way, the people left out of pocket are landlords.

The latest letting agents to close under a cloud is Thomas & Co, with branches in Northampton and Milton Keynes. Owners Paul Collins and Louisa Thompson are believed to have had 250 properties under management when the business closed last month.

Police and trading standards are investigating the firm after allegations of malpractice from angry landlords.

If a letting agent goes bust, here’s some pointers for landlords:

• Stop the tenant paying rent to the letting agent and make alternative arrangements

• Make sure the property is legal – that any services arranged by the letting agent like gas certificates, HMO licences and insurance are up-to-date, and tenant deposits are protected.

• Take a copy of tenancy agreements and make sure any notices have been served. If trading standards are involved, they will probably have seized the letting agent’s files.

• For landlords owed more than £750, find out the trading status of the letting agent and consider serving the appropriate bankruptcy or liquidation notices, depending on whether the agent is an individual, partnership or company.

This lets the courts unravel any financial shenanigans to siphon money from the business over the past two years.

If the letting agent is bankrupted, a landlord can still pursue a lawful debt after the bankruptcy has ended – take legal advice over the best way forward

Check out a letting agent’s credentials before paying over any cash. Letting agents are not regulated, so landlords have no special financial protection. Agents who are current members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or SAFEagent will have bonded insurance that covers missing money.



Comments

7 years ago

Hi Mark and team,

A useful and informative article thank you.
You may wish to add, Adam and sons, Nottingham to your list of Lettings agents no longer trading.

They collected rent from my tenants before writing to me three days later to tell me they were no longer trading. Needless to say, they didn't forward the rent on to me. So how one goes about recovering this rent I don't know.

They weren't registered to ARLA, so no prospects there.

The Police had no interest either, despite the potential of many hundreds of landlords suffering the same fate as me, which I found disappointing and surprising.

I'll let you know if progress is made.........

Keep up the good work.

Kind regards,

David Miles

7 years ago

Add Kym Falla t/a Spiremark Property Rentals of Peterborough

This involved non payment of rentals to several landlords, receiving money
from housing benefis and non return of deposits.

This was all investigated by the Police who prepared a very sound case
which CPS refused to proceed on saying a jury would not be able to understand it

What a waste of time

Regards

Derek Firman

7 years ago

Hi Mark and Team,

Yes same sad old strory all over Sad England. - No Justice as usual CPS = Criminal Protection Service will not take these prosecutions as they are looked upon as a Civil Matter.........

Citi Properties Letting Agent who were in Stoke-On-Trent did the same thing they took on hundreds of properties at a discount rate to Landlords with a 5% Managenment Fee then kept all of the deposits from the Tenants in a Private Account and pocketed the Housing Benefit money paid to them by the Government without paying the Landlords any Rent for Three months amounting to over £80,000.

Then they went into Liquidation and kept all of the money and The Great British Justice System or so we think its so GREAT then make the Landlords ultimately responsible so even if you persue the corrupt Director - Theif - Criminal of the Letting Agent through the Courts Privatley and who is setting up these businesses with every intention to Bankrupt them in 6 months you will not win as he will of disposed of the money and as in this case left to Pakistan.

But our Great British Justice System - Decides if you want to prosecute the Director of the Letting Agent its a Civil Matter and nothing to do with us the CPS !!!!!!!!!!!!! Then if YOU the Landlord take out a Private Prosecution you will be responsible Financially if you lose the case you will pay the Deposits to the Tenants even though you never received any Deposits as the Agent you trusted took the deposits and the Landlord never met with the Tenant. You will not get your Stolen - Theifed rent back as their will be no assetts and no money in the Liquidated Letting Agent Business.

So you are wasting your money through the over- stretched Justice System as you will run up massive Court Costs building up the case file and Lawyers extending the case further to make themselves some more money and the case will be put back and back by the Slow Justice System Process having too many cases going through it and over-stretched to breaking point in such an inneffective Justice System. Will mean you lose more money and thus letting the Criminal Win...............

Also if the Letting Agent has been seen to pay a few Deposits back to Tenants over the six months Trading, He now has his escape justice clause as he went insolvement due to Difficult Trading Circumstances but was seen to pay a few deposits back to tenants who had left in that 6 month period so its his " get out of Jail Card ".

Ultimatetly we dont have a Good Justice System in this Country as which Government will ever invest in a system that doesnt make them any money and only costs them money by sending Criminals to Jail. If the Criminal goes to Prison it costs the Government Money and the only happy people are Big Fat Lawyers as they dont care about whats Right or Wrong as they are MAKING MORE MONEY.

As for the Corrupt cheating Letting Agent Theif , he will be setting up somewhere else under another name and concentrating on doing it all over again to make his next £ 80,000. Letting Agents are NOT regulated so you have NO PROTECTION.

Many things are insane and completely wrong with our Justice System and its too slow and compltely innafective - CHANGE IT MR CAMERON NOW - UNDER THE BIG SOCIETY = HONEST LAW ABIDING CITIZENS WILLING TO GIVE A FEW HOURS OF THEIR RETIREMENT TIME FOR FREE TO DELIVER A BETTER SOCIETY FOR THEIR CHILDREN AND WILL DO A BETTER JOB AND WOULD DELIVER GOOD HONEST JUSTICE AT A LOT CHEAPER PRICE.

And - Hence Letting Agents should be Financially Regulated and made accountable and the industry should not just have these Mickey Mouse Protections like ARLA and Safe Agent. As in this case the Letting Agent - Citi Properties just used these Protection Agents Logos on their Website and were not even Registered with them. They just copied the Logos........ What was done about it !!!!!!!!! Nothing just a nice polite letter asking Citi-Protperties to refrain from using there logos or they MAY take action. " NO POINT TAKING ACTION IF THEY HAVE ALREADY LIQUIDATED AND RAN OFF WITH THE MONEY "

To many Agents are setting up and then run away with your money by just closing up their LET Premises doors and taking the Landlords money and Tenants Deposits. If the Tenant prosecutes the Landlord for his Deposit back the Landlord will have to pay 3 times the Deposit amount back to the Tenant even though he never received the deposit in the first place as the Agent received the deposit but he now has theifed it.

Is British Justice Bothered - ANSWER = NO The British Justice System doesnt deliver Good Justice for the people trying to make an Honest living at present it only lines the pockets of Greedy Lawyers.

As for Legal Aid - Well if you work hard and earn a Low Income = You are not entitled to Legal Aid = Encouraging you not to do any work to take the case forward under Legal Aid. Its a costly business JUSTICE and it shouldnt be .

Vote for me for Prime Minister i will sort it out.

6 years ago

Thanks for the information here, very useful, albeit it somewhat too late for us. We let a property through Lanes Letting, Brighton, and we are very worried they have done a runner. Rent is owed to us, deposits have been paid by our tenants and not registered with the DPS. They haven' t been answering our calls or emails for weeks, and yesterday we found out that the office has been boarded up. THis is particularly frustrating for us as overseas landlords because we aren't even in the country to deal with the problems. We needed to be able to trust our agency and they have severely let us down.

5 years ago

So how, if at all possible, can we help our landlord get back the £8,000+ rent plus deposit paid to Thomas and co to Mr.Collins which he never handed over and closed up the company. Can the landlord claim these monies back somehow as its a substantial amount of money and seems Mr.Collins is just getting let off the theft by spending a few weeks in prison (at tax payers expense) and when he gets out will just do it all over again to someone else!!

Freda Blogs

5 years ago

Is the Letting Agent a Linited Company? If not you may be able to sue the individuals in their personal names. They may have assets such as their own homes and cars.


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