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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Yet another letting agency scam

Another letting agency scam has surfaced. A Maida Vale  landlord believed her letting agent had let out her property to a Swiss businessman and his family, at £560 a week. The landlord had been told by the letting agent that the tenant's rent would be paid by an employer, a company called Kingsman & Kingsman Ltd.

What the landlord discovered two years into the tenancy was that the tenant, was in fact claiming Housing Benefit, and had been right from the beginning. The employer Kingsman and Kin
gsman Limited didn't actually exist, and even more shockingly, Westminster Council was paying a monthly rent of £4,550 direct to the letting agent. A rent that was more than £2,000 a month more than the landlord had been told the property was being let out for.

After investigating the situation further the landlord, a Miss Lawal, went on to discover the offices of the fake company were unsurprisingly based at the home address of one of the letting agents.

Personally I'm not as shocked by the discovery of more dodgy letting agents, as by the ridiculous rate that Westminster council is prepared to pay out on housing benefit - nearly twice the market value.

Maybe the crisis in PRS is not down to greedy landlords, but more an issue with the financial ineptness of local authorities, who appear to be more than eager to spend taxpayers money.

The landlord commented that  “no one at Westminster seemed bothered” when she raised her concerns about the deception.

The letting agents were ordered to repay Miss Lawal £67,559.56 in lost rent, as well as £25,000 in legal costs, but unsurprisingly she has not seen a penny, after the letting agents sold up the business and moved on.

More detail on this story can be read here

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Anonymous said...

This is fraud. The police need to be involved.

Anonymous said...

Liabilities pass to the new owner when there is a transaction of this kind. She should be able to sue the new owners for payment of the outstanding sum.