Tenant here. Landlord(s) possibly committing insurance or mortgage fraud

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    Tenant here. Landlord(s) possibly committing insurance or mortgage fraud

    I have been renting a place through a letting agency for about 18 months now and a few things don’t add up, which has me anxious.

    I have received letters from their home insurance provider to this address (where I rent). According to the insurance statement letter, the owners have renewed their insurance during my tenancy here – claiming they live here and the property is not being used as a BTL, which it is.

    Does this leave me in a bad position if the home insurance provider discovers this deception/fraud?

    In addition, the surname of the landlord on the tenancy agreement is completely different from that on the insurance form.

    This is extremely confusing and more than a little dodgy.

    I have been trying to find the actual owners of the property through 192.co.uk, although it is proving very difficult.

    The letting agent is also a complete shyster/chancer, incredibly dishonest, took a deposit without protecting it - the whole shebang - and refuses to give me their details, even when faced with court action and threats from my solicitor. This bully boy agent hasn't got two brain cells to rub together.

    I am not sure what to make of this, the landlord’s surname not being the same on the tenancy agreement as on the insurance form; the fact they’re still claiming to live here. Does this put me in any risk? Mortgage repossession possibly?

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    #2
    You already seem to be at risk. I don't see that insurance fraud would make it any worse, although mortgage fraud could, as it allows a possible section 8, ground 2, eviction. The insurance fraud means that no-one will pay for new accommodation if the building burns down, but the main loss will be to whoever took it out.

    I think you have a moral duty to return the insurance notice to the insurance company marked: "opened in error: addressee not known a this address", and better still mention you are the tenant.

    You should have been actively seeking new accommodation before the solicitor got involved.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you very much leaseholder64. Useful information.

      The issue is I don't have the funds right now to move or have family/friends to crash at; I'm kind of stuck here till I can save to move. I will return the insurance notice back to Halifax like you said; mentioning I am the tenant; but on the way out - as I don't want to risk being homeless. I do not know what the ramifications of 'dobbing them in' to the insurance company would be.

      I agree that insurance fraud is really not okay and I should at least report it, seeing as it increases everyones' premiums. That was a very good idea to send it back marked as "addressee not known a this address". Thank you.

      My solicitor got involved before I was aware of insurance/possible mortgage fraud. I simply wanted to contact the owners to bypass the useless, unprofessional and aggressive letting agency. The agent/owners do not know that I know about the insurance etc.

      As I cannot seek new accommodation now for financial reasons, the big concern is whether they are committing mortgage fraud; and I don't understand what constitutes mortgage fraud or know how to find out if they have consent to let and whether this matters in that respect.

      I am unsure whether or not the insurance fraud means mortgage fraud also - I'm no expert in these areas, clearly. I just don't want to lose the roof over my head because the owners are running a dodgy operation; and be turfed out by the mortgage lenders under the grounds you stated.

      Is there any way I can find out if they are committing mortgage fraud? I mean I should probably just assume the worst, but it'd be good to know where I stand. Does insurance fraud mean they are likely committing mortgage fraud also? I do not have the knowledge or expertise in this area.

      My solicitor was a silk (Q.C.) who deals with international law and did not discuss insurance or mortgage issues; he's a friend I haven't spoke to in a while and he only dealt with the agent's aggressive behavior and acted as intermediary. He's a friend I previously worked for and did it for free. I needed some clout to get the idiotic agent off my back for a while, he didn't like that I asked him to protect the deposit or hand it back.

      On a side-note, this letting agent also had the audacity to talk to my solicitor (a very respected person) in an incredibly hostile and insulting manner. He's thick as two planks and doesn't know the different between 'all' and 'i'll', and once called me a 'key board wharrior' for asking where my deposit was. Some letting agents really are the lowest of the low, this guy cannot have an IQ of more than 85.

      I want to bypass the agent but am having great difficulty finding the owners, especially as the names on the tenancy agreements and insurance forms don't match up.

      Maybe I should just withhold rent and look for another place, I don't think this agent has a chance in hell of a successful eviction; he's not done anything by the book; not a single thing; and I cannot keep paying over what I have to be turfed out by the mortgage co.

      Comment


        #4
        If you withold rent you are unlikely to be welcomed by any future landlord so I wouldn't do that.

        Just keep saving hard for a deposit for somewhere else and after you leave you should get a nice bonus of your deposit returned and 3x the deposit as a penalty. Once you've left you should inform the insurer, his lender and HMRC to make sure he can't carry on doing this to other tenants.

        Comment


          #5
          I will inform the insurer, his lender and HMRC on the way out.

          As the agent is completely unreasonable (yes, 100% unreasonable) and won't give me a reference anyway I don't have much to lose by withholding rent. Am I wrong? Serious question.

          When you let an agent this incompetent and unprofessional represent you you've got all that's coming to you, frankly. Ethically I won't lose sleep at night withholding for a few months, the agent has put me through hell and I have had to live with rats for 6 months due to his refusal to do maintenance work. (not repairing a hole in the outside wall cavity; I told him it needed re-cementing and they got in the walls and up into the attic.)

          The house is falling apart and this agent does not look after it; isn't it wise for me just to save every penny I have now? I know you landlords hate the idea of withholding rent and understandably, but it seems like I would have good grounds if this ever went to court. The papertrail of misconduct, breaches of contract and just general illegal behavior has been recorded so I could hit him hard with an S8 counter-claim. Trust me, this agent is a total criminal who has repeatedly personally threatened me over minor issues.

          There's also the issue that the agent is being obtuse about the rent. One week it's X P/M and another it's Y P/M. I'm not joking. I cannot work with this guy, which is why I am trying to find the owners so I can pay them directly; over the agent's head.

          If I can find the owners and remove the agent from the equation, I'd be much less inclined to withhold rent.

          If I have the owner's names and DOB's, what is the easiest way to find them? I really would just prefer to cut this agent out as he's costing me and the LL money. It seems like this is the best route, but I am having a hard time finding them.

          Comment


            #6
            Can I ask why you opened post addressed to the landlord in the first place? Also why didn't you just forward it to him via the agent if necessary?

            It might simply have been a case of him (or the company) forgetting to cancel his former insurance policy. If he were committing mortgage (that is if he has one in the first place) fraud then there would be letters from the lender posted to the address as well.

            As you intend moving on (something you should be doing all things considered) then I wouldn't be too concerned about these other things!

            Comment


              #7
              I've just read your most recent post and it's perfectly possible the landlord has no idea the agent has been behaving in this manner. So yes, he needs to be informed!

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you.

                "If he were committing mortgage (that is if he has one in the first place) fraud then there would be letters from the lender posted to the address as well."

                This puts me somewhat at ease; I still worry about the possibility of this guy simply not paying the mortgage however, given this house is seriously run down and the LA makes no effort in upkeep. I hope I do get letters if that's the case. Thank you again.

                "Can I ask why you opened post addressed to the landlord in the first place? Also why didn't you just forward it to him via the agent if necessary?"

                I wanted to see if there was any info by which to contact them by; I didn't even have their names before I opened it and now I have both their names and D.O.B.'s. I think it was the right thing to do given the context. The agent completely ignores serious maintenance issues, and he's even threatened to "kick the door off the hinges" via email because I left him a poor google review. I don't think any landlord would want to be paying an agent to be trashing their property having an infantile tantrum over a 2 star google review. I changed it to 1 star.

                There's also the fact that he didn't forward a tonne of letters I had in the first 3 months of moving in - any of them. I delivered them to his office and he was too lazy to do it. I took a chance and got the owners' details.

                What is the easiest way to find the landlord's contact details? I have names and D.O.B.'s; I found one match earlier on through 192.co.uk but it's a slow process; they really need to know about this agent's conduct as he's just beyond words.

                The problem is the surname on the tenancy doesn't add up with one of the owners on the insurance; I don't understand why... and it's not changed because of marriage either.

                I really just want to pay the owners directly and forget about this. If mortgage fraud seems unlikely that seems the best way to go about things. The agent has caused a lot of hassle and been obstructive in giving me their info.

                If I pay the same amount I am now straight to the landlords it'll be more money than they're currently getting now because no agent! And the agent is providing 0 service. It could be a case of them just not knowing how bad the agency is; or they could be just as bad. I at least want to reach out and tell them the truth and offer to pay them directly.

                Does anyone know how to find people easily? 192.co.uk is a slog; the land registry doesn't have their current address; I've tried several other means including social media and just basic google searches. Not a lot. These people either don't exist or they're incredibly hard to find. Maybe even abroad?

                Comment


                  #9
                  I just did a land registry to see who owns the freehold on the house I rent. It's actually my letting agent, not the people on my tenancy agreement.

                  I currently have signed a tenancy agreement between myself and falsified people; with him as the letting agent. But he's actually the out right owner of the property.

                  Where does this leave me as a tenant? What can I do? Should I do anything?

                  Do I even have rights as a tenant given the situation? does this make the tenancy void?

                  Or is it the owner who should be more worried? Should I be worried?

                  Why has he done this, for what purpose? There is also an insurance claim on this place with completely different names claiming they live here (the falsified names).

                  Can someone please explain why a landlord/letting agent would do this and what they have to gain by it, and any possible consequences for me.

                  Please ask away if I have not made myself clear.

                  Thank you for reading.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The landlord is whoever is named as the landlord on a written tenancy agreement.
                    A landlord doesn't have to own the property they are letting.

                    So what the agent has done isn't illegal in itself and doesn't void the agreement or give you fewer rights than any other tenant.

                    It's an odd thing to do, though, so I can see why you're concerned.

                    The simplest reason might actually be that if you think that the landlord is someone else, the agent can get away with delaying things by "asking" the landlord if you want anything changing or fixing.

                    Or check companies house to see if the landlords are the owners of the agency using their own names.
                    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


                      #11
                      Update: The mystery owners DO exist but are the leaseholders; hence I'm almost certain this place is being illegally sub-let. Would I be right in thinking this?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Interstate8 View Post
                        Update: The mystery owners DO exist but are the leaseholders; hence I'm almost certain this place is being illegally sub-let. Would I be right in thinking this?
                        Other than the freeholder being the agent, that's all perfectly normal and there's no specific reason that points to an illegal sublet.
                        Anyone who owns a property as a leaseholder is in the same position as your landlord.

                        The freeholders know what's happening because they're the property's letting agent, so they don't seem to have an issue with what their lesee is doing.
                        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
                          Originally posted by Interstate8 View Post
                          I don't have much to lose by withholding rent. Am I wrong? Serious question.

                          I know you landlords hate the idea of withholding rent and understandably, but it seems like I would have good grounds if this ever went to court.
                          You are being advised not to withhold rent because that is in YOUR best interests.
                          No reasonable landlord will let to someone with a history of rent arrears.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            The leaseholders have insurance on this house - claiming they are the sole occupiers - and what if I have no legal documentation apart from a tenancy agreement? No gas regs had been done for 5 years when I called H&S. What if the agent is being incredibly hostile and dishonest? Am I basically just stuck here?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              There's no evidence that there's any kind of mortgage fraud.

                              There's a letter from an insurance company, but it's quite possible that the insurance hasn't been cancelled and has automatically renewed.
                              And the letter wasn't addressed to you, so you shouldn't really have opened it (not that anyone will care).

                              The agent not protecting the deposit means that they can't serve notice (using section 21 anyway) to evict you, which puts you in a reasonably strong position going forward.

                              It's actually a criminal offence for the agent not to give the landlord's details after a request in writing from a current tenant. However, it is impossible in practice to get anyone to prosecute the case.
                              The police won't because they don't see it as a crime, the local authority won't because it costs them more to prosecute than they can recover and good luck finding a trading standards officer full stop.

                              Your wish to remove the (clearly useless) agent from the process is unlikely to succeed. Agent's contracts with landlords are usually specifically designed to prevent that happening, even if the landlord wants to do that (which is unlikely, because that's why they used an agent in the first place).

                              The most logical explanation is that the landlord has simply moved somewhere else for some reason and their friendly local agent offered to let the property for them when they found out about it (which they did because they're the freeholder).
                              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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