Agent fraud?

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    Agent fraud?

    I hope someone can help. I let out my property via an agent for full management. The tenants are due to leave at the end of the month, having given 2 months notice. When they gave notice my agent offered to re-let the property - I delcined as I had read bad press regarding this agent( pocketing clients' monies ) The tenants have paid their last months rent to the agent who have written to me 2 days prior to them leaving to say the the company has "ceased to trade" and they are unable to pay me the last months rent. Companies house say that they have not gone under liquidation. I have paid back the deposit to the tenants as they are not at fault. I also took out legal cover at the start of the contract via the agent - when I contacted the company ( MARAS) they have no record of payment!

    Any tips on what I should do to get my one months rent outstanding?

    Any help appreciated

    #2
    Were they members of any of the regulatory bodies? are they limited or sole trader? if they are sole trader then you can serve county court papers on them at the office or even at their home.
    My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

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      #3
      No unfortunately the director has been struck of the board of Estate Agents. The agent is a limited company. The director states that he has shut down his business, but he has opened up under a different name, with the same staff and at the same address.

      I think he does this regularly to other landlords - this is why he was in the local papers as he was fined £3k after another landlord had taken him to court. He did not pay this fine and so the bailiffs were called in to his premises.

      Can agents do this and get away with it?

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        #4
        You should NEVER use any agent that is not a member of RICS/ARLA/NAEA as they all have compulsory client money protection insurance against any of these scams.

        If, as you say, the agent keeps rising like a Phoenix, write to the Office of Fair Trading who can and will put a "stop" order on this person to keep them away from the profession permanently. The only trouble is this takes about 2 years to do so you can see the havoc they can create in a short period, never mind 2 years.

        Lobby the local press and possibly the Daily Mail or Mail on Sunday. You can write to Tony Hetherington at the MoS who often highlights such charlatans.
        The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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