Letting agent has done a runner with my last months rent + the tenants deposit

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    Letting agent has done a runner with my last months rent + the tenants deposit

    Hi All

    I have a pretty bad situation:

    I had a property which was under management by a fairly new estate agent - all was good up until the last few months of the tenancy (ended August 1st). The rent was passed on late to me from the agent, and in the last month I didn't receive the final rent payment.

    After chasing numerous times - he kept reassuring me that the money was on its way and actually it was the tenant who had not paid him the rent. I believed him and he said he would keep the deposit and pass it on to me. At the start of the tenancy he said he filled the deposit with the TDS, but I have not got any proof of this. This is my first property so I was ignorant and naive, lesson learned. Ultimately I never got the money and he stopped answering my calls and messages and blocked me.

    I managed to get in contact with the previous tenant recently who said that she had been paying rent on time every month - and she had proof. She mentioned she had received the same treatment from the agent and that they had stopped all dialog with her too. They have basically kept her deposit and seemingly not filed it with the TDS.

    So in short, agent done a runner, kept my last rent payment, kept the tenants deposit.

    Am I fully liable for the tenants deposit? is it worth paying out of my pocket? Is there any point in contacting my insurance? I am sending a letter to the registered address of the agent but don't think this will help.

    #2
    You are fully liable: Tenant has done nothing wrong, can't be asked to pay again.

    I would return the deposit you never had to tenant immediately (It's likely this clown didn;t protect it so you are liable to up-to 3xdeposit penalty.).

    You can take legal action against agent for losses: Was it a human being sole-trader or a company?

    I'd ask tenant, nicely (take cake round for a chat) for copies of all documents if you are missing anything...
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      Hmm ok., So I found a document that is a receipt which he made up in word of the deposit to the TDS - not sure how this would stand up legally though. Would it help?

      the agency is a limited company - https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09715415

      I have spoken to the tenant who will be sending over all his correspondence and proof of their payments to me. I have mentioned that I will reimburse this figure as I am ultimately liable over the next few days.

      I will be sending a letter via recorded delivery to his company address warning of legal action.
      I will also be reporting him to the police.

      Can anyone suggest the best way to instruct a lawyer to look at this? What kind of cost are we also talking?

      Comment


        #4
        Never ever ever ever ever permit an agent to handle and to protect the deposit (whether a fully managed service or otherwise).

        Your first step is to speak very nicely to tenants and to give their whole deposit back without delay and hope that they are not nasty vindictive chancers (the law facilitates and approves of nasty vindictive chancers).

        They are still in business so they have not done a runner yet. You need to start a moneyclaim online and take them to court as soon as possible. Forget instructing a lawyer - DIY and now.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks. Luckily the tenant is quite understanding. I will be paying them tomorrow.

          This is the right link correct?
          https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim-online

          Comment


            #6
            there are agents who do protect deposits correctly although AndrewDod's method is the only way to ensure 100% that what happens to it is entirely your decision.

            If you had actually searched for that company when you were thinking of appointing them as your agent, you would have been able to see that in 2015 they filed accounts with the grand sum of £100 as their capital balance. Not the kind of company I'd do business with. Instead, my letting agent of choice had cash reserves of £300K in their last filed accounts.

            I actually use Companies House info to decide who to do business with whether contractor or agent. A regular search of accounts filed can reveal some interesting background info on the solvency of the business. It has also revealed personal connections I might not otherwise have been aware of (e.g. the director of a contractor company also being connected to the letting agent somehow when the LA is trying to tell you they're an independent entity). Highly recommended reading.

            Comment


              #7
              It's unbelievable that there are so many bad agents there. I got a similar experience with you but worse. I am going to take them to court as well. I am wondering if there is any review sites that we can write our reviews for the agents so that this won't happen to other landlords and tenants?

              Comment


                #8
                if reviews online were the way to prevent people going into business with dodgy individuals and companies based on them, then there would no longer be any dodgy individuals doing business. The kind of people you want to avoid are very adept at creating a bunch of reviews that would make them look fantastic. They're also adept at creating false reviews of people you can trust.

                If you are seriously going to place large amounts of business with a company solely based on website reviews of them, you're the kind of person who will be burned by people and companies like this. You need to do more tangible research than that. It's easier for you to change your approach to business than it is for you to try to prevent dodgy companies doing business.

                Comment


                  #9
                  An update for anyone who is interested.

                  I filed a money claim around 3 weeks ago and there was no response. So I have moved and requested for a judgment against the guy. I doubt I will ever see my money again, but hopefully I can get a CCJ for him.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It's a limited company, so you take action against the company, not the individual.

                    I would assume he's done this to lots of clients as well as probably owing his suppliers, tradesmen, commercial landlord, local authority, etc.

                    Used to see this happen frequently when I worked in a major city. Letting agent would spring up out of nowhere, offer cheap fees to attract landlords, then close overnight and a new agent with familiar faces would open again a few weeks later.

                    How they get away with it is beyond me.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Gfl View Post
                      I am wondering if there is any review sites that we can write our reviews for the agents so that this won't happen to other landlords and tenants?
                      Like this > https://www.allagents.co.uk/home-cupid/

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Allagents is one, but very few people know about it.

                        Leaving a review on their Google entry is a better option as they are almost impossible to remove and anyone who searches for them will see their star rating in the result.

                        Facebook is another one but you can’t do it anonymously.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by HantsAgent View Post
                          Facebook is another one but you can’t do it anonymously.
                          course you can... not every account on Facebook uses a real name!

                          Comment

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