Property sublet, and agents ask rental back as Fraudulent Rental Payments

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    Property sublet, and agents ask rental back as Fraudulent Rental Payments

    Hi,

    Hope everyone here is healthy and safe at this moment. Please help and advice as I have a big trouble from my letting agent. The letting contract was started from earlier 2017.

    Back to Sep 2019, I told the agent that I decide to sell that property, but they came back said they could not contact with tenants and their management key was lost.
    Dec 2019, I found my keys and posted to them.
    Feb 2020, the agent told me the property was sublet and the locks/keys were changed. they sent a notice to the current tenants to leave within two weeks.
    March 2020, the agent told me they had replaced the locks and the property was empty and they will take photo to start the selling.
    April 2020, the agent send me an Email said they want me to return the rental for the last three months (Dec, Jan and Feb) as they were fraudulent payments, plus I need to pay the management fees by myself.

    I have their full management letting services so they collect the rental to me every month after deducting the management fee. My question is, should I give the rental back? Should I pay the management fee? I feel that is the dereliction of duty from the agent cause I lose rental from Feb, but now they want their money back from me? I have asked my insurer Churchill but they said the fraud payment was not covered from losing rental payment. I have paid the agent and insurer for everything, but got nothing when this happened, plus I have to give the rental back. Help please.

    #2
    Don't give the money back. Someone has tendered it as rent. It's yours. The agent certainly has no claim on.

    Comment


      #3
      Was the agent receiving rent direct from the DWP or the local authority?
      If so, you'll probably have to pay it back.

      Your agent sounds like a right cowboy. Don't pay anything until they explain why.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
        Was the agent receiving rent direct from the DWP or the local authority?
        If so, you'll probably have to pay it back.

        Your agent sounds like a right cowboy. Don't pay anything until they explain why.
        Thanks for your reply. BTW it was illegal sublet, I really have no idea how they operate, is there a way to find out?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
          Don't give the money back. Someone has tendered it as rent. It's yours. The agent certainly has no claim on.
          Thank you, for sure I don't want to give any money back at this moment. I have attached their ticket as following, is there a chance they may sue me if I don't? I got a question on the crime number, is it start with year and month? why this one is 2004? I have read the Fraud Report and it is a very simple one. Basically only contains the contact details of the agent and the tenants.

          Good Afternoon,

          I hope you are well at this time.

          The outgoing tenants for the above property as you are aware from my previous correspondence sub-let the property without permission and against the terms of the tenancy agreement.

          We had been informed previously that one month’s rent was paid by the way of a fraudulent transaction. It has now come to light that the tenant also made other fraudulent rental payments and all of that money has been paid across to yourself. Taking our fees into account the amount that was paid across was £2,278.08 in total and I have to ask for this back from you as soon as possible. As we have had to pay this back to the company of where the money was paid from illegally.

          This has also been reported to the Police and Action Fraud. The crime number is – NFRC200403618xxx

          Please send the monies back to us as soon as possible;

          This all means that the tenant left in arrears to the sum of £2,490.00. However, as previously informed we believe that the tenant sub-let the property. If you are insured for such losses once the monies have been returned to us please contact your insurer if you are covered. If you are not covered, we can instruct a solicitor to trace the tenant for you and once traced you can instruct the courts to obtain the monies and a CCJ.

          Comment


            #6
            Ask them exactly what they mean by "fraudulent transaction", and keep asking until you are satisfied.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MdeB View Post
              Ask them exactly what they mean by "fraudulent transaction", and keep asking until you are satisfied.
              There is a super simple report created by them, the only useful information apart from the contact detail is below:

              Additional details: The caller is calling on behalf of the callers business. The caller works for a letting agency and calling to report that a suspect tenant has been using a credit card fraudulently to pay for rent, which has now resulted in the callers company being charged a charge back 3 times. The caller has stated that the callers business have since paid the landlord for the 3 months rent. The caller has contacted action fraud to report. The callers business is currently at a financial loss of 2490

              Comment


                #8
                So as I understand it, the tenant (not the subtenant) has used a credit card fraudulently to pay the rent due to you via your agent. The agent has collected the money and forwarded to you. Now the credit card co. wants the money back. I think you could be liable as the card was subsequently "charged back" by the bank after the agent forwarded the money. https://www.wepay.com/api/payments-1...fraud-and-loss

                Essentially the agent is under instruction to collect moneys (spelt correctly) on your behalf.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by rambits View Post

                  There is a super simple report created by them, the only useful information apart from the contact detail is below:

                  Additional details: The caller is calling on behalf of the callers business. The caller works for a letting agency and calling to report that a suspect tenant has been using a credit card fraudulently to pay for rent, which has now resulted in the callers company being charged a charge back 3 times. The caller has stated that the callers business have since paid the landlord for the 3 months rent. The caller has contacted action fraud to report. The callers business is currently at a financial loss of 2490
                  I would ask for a plain English interpretation of that.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It all sounds a bit fishy, do not pay the money back until you are sent evidence of everything, and question why the hell the agent is accepting rent payments from a crdit card knowing the risks of a chargeback are there.

                    Also ring the police and see if that crime number is real. You are right, its usually the date followed by the log number.

                    It reads lile a scam.




                    Comment


                      #11
                      yeah this smells fishy to me too, also if the agent did suffer charge back. This is his loss not the landlords, it was the tenants that caused the loss NOT the landlord, so his claim to court would be with the tenants NOT the landlord and given how dodgy they sound i wouldn't be taking the loss myself anyway.

                      If this is something to do with the council then you can deal with them directly, although at some point you may need to get a lawyer involved and address these accusations, I don't think they have a leg to stand on., let us know how it goes

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by blinko View Post
                        yeah this smells fishy to me too, also if the agent did suffer charge back. This is his loss not the landlords, it was the tenants that caused the loss NOT the landlord, so his claim to court would be with the tenants NOT the landlord and given how dodgy they sound i wouldn't be taking the loss myself anyway.
                        While it is the tenant's who caused the loss, the agent was collecting on behalf of the landlord, so the loss is the landlords.

                        However, the agent shouldn't take credit card payments for rent and asking for the fee for the recalled rent is a bit much.
                        So I'd decline and see what the agent actually does.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          dazwalsh,

                          It should not be a scam as the Email was sent directly from the agent's manager and the account they ask me to pay back is the account of the agent. Unless they are trying to recover the lose of business during the Covid19 from me???

                          BTW, I have been using web chat on the Action Fraud website, and they refuse to provide any detail of the report.as it is confidential, but I was told it is this year's report by the ref number.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            jpkeates,

                            I have asked the key back to me and stop the selling process of that property as I don't trust them any more. They seem agree to return the key but also asking:
                            "The keys will be sent to you shortly in the post. In the meantime please confirm when you will be paying the £2490.00 back."
                            Should I decline that and tell them it is their fault to accept credit card payment so they need to cover my loss?
                            So am I correct that the agent's full letting management service is just a money collecting service? How stupid I am to pay for that every month.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You may have more leverage with them if they'd make money selling your property.

                              I'd start by taking the line that you won't pay them back.
                              They shouldn't accept credit card payments for rent, it's an obvious scam.

                              They should be challenging the chargeback on the basis the payment was for a service that's been received, and/or helping you take legal action against the tenant.
                              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                              Comment

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