Agent gone AWOL with Rent and Deposit

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  • Agent gone AWOL with Rent and Deposit

    Hi, first post so forgive me if this is a common problem.

    We rented our home out 3 months ago as we were going to Australia. We entered into an agreement with Lassiters or Sandhurst to rent out house out (managaged service) which they did. We have not received any money from Lassiters and they have now stopped answering calls or emails. I even got my Brother to drive from Aylesbury to Sandhurst to pop into the office however the office was locked up and it looked like that they had cleared all the paperwork away.
    We contacted the TDS (who the deposit should have been bonded with) and they had no record of the Deposit.

    Does anyone know anything about xxxxxxxx having "difficulties"
    What should I do about the missing rent?
    What should I do about the missing deposit?
    What do I do about the documentation and keys they had in their possession.

    Not sure where I stand now, this is very off putting experience (first Landlord experience)

    We can't even phone ARLA as they only have an 0844 number as far as I can tell which is no good for me out in Melbourne.

    Any advise would be really helpful.

    Kind Regards,

    S.
    Last edited by LandlordZONE; 13-05-2012, 18:49 PM.

  • #2
    ARLA are still showing them as members; you can register a complaint here via email. You may be able to claim under the client money protection scheme - do let us know how you get on in that respect.

    http://www.arla.co.uk/complaints/cli...ey-protection/

    If the tenant can prove they paid the rent to xxxxxxxxxxx then the rent is considered paid. You remain responsible for the deposit unfortunately, and will need to provide the funds to protect the deposit.

    It may be worth contacting the local trading standards office in xxxxxxxxxx to see if they have any information. This happened with xxxxxxxxxxx recently and the local TSO stepped in to recover documents, keys etc from their office.
    Last edited by LandlordZONE; 13-05-2012, 18:51 PM.
    My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi

      Thanks for the advice. I have just had a look at the clients protection scheme that NFOPP have and it looks from the claim form that the Tenants might be able to claim the deposit money.

      I'll check with the Trading Standards and see how I go, thanks again.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by simonhalldba View Post
        I have just had a look at the clients protection scheme that NFOPP have and it looks from the claim form that the Tenants might be able to claim the deposit money.
        It is none of your tenant's business if your agent has run away with the deposit: As the landlord you are responsible for it and thus owe it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yep I understand that, I was just looking at the NFOPP form and the bit about claiming back deposits was targetted at the Tenants.

          http://www.arla.co.uk/media/39347/po...ation_form.pdf

          I'm not trying to dodge my responsibilities (although the Agent seems to have done a good job of it), just a bit confused by the form.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Simon,

            I'm glad that you have posted on here as I wondered if we were alone! We have had a similar problem with xxxxxxxxxx. We rented our property for the first time in February with xxxxxxxxx, and have had problems every month with rent being late and I have been on their case constantly. I was getting so frustrated with rent being late and was very close to having the tenant paying us directly as I was worried the agent may be in financial difficulties. I was awaiting June's rent when suddenly nobody answered at the office anymore and the office appears to have been closed up.

            I did receive a holding e-mail from the owner last week that they were dealing with problems and I should hear something by the 7th, so I will let you know.

            We also had a plumber work on the property back in February, which I paid Lassiters for and they never passed on the funds to the tradesman.

            My tenants are currently checking with the DPS who the deposit should be held with, I really hope that the funds are there but I fear they may not be. Have you tried checking with the DPS? As I thought that was the company that they used to hold deposits

            My husband is just spoke to the Trading Standards - thank you Oaktree. They passed us on to Consumer Direct who encouraged others effected to report to them (08454 040506). Simon you can also contact them through the website.

            Also our first experience of being a landlord - not a pleasant first start!

            Has anyone ever been in the situation where an agent goes bust? Do you eventually get to recover any money?
            Last edited by LandlordZONE; 13-05-2012, 18:52 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              The tenant can't claim the deposit back from the client protection scheme but, by completing the tenants section of the form, it will help support your claim.
              My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BLandlord View Post
                Has anyone ever been in the situation where an agent goes bust? Do you eventually get to recover any money?
                Sadly no, it is rare to hear of anyone getting anything back. I've seen 5-6 agents go bust in this town over the last 20 years and I can't think there were many people who got their money back. The latest one to go, back in May, owed some landlords 5 months rent! We estimate that they had around 300 properties under management - average rent around here is around £700pcm so you can see that a lot of money goes missing before the inevitable happens. They were thrown out of the TDS in May 2009 but we haven't found one landlord who was told about it.

                I really feel for landlords in your position, facing not only your own loss but having to replace the deposit as well.
                My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by oaktree View Post
                  Sadly no, it is rare to hear of anyone getting anything back. I've seen 5-6 agents go bust in this town over the last 20 years and I can't think there were many people who got their money back.
                  Yes. The thing is that a letting agent (as in the limited company) has usually no assets that can be disposed of to pay the creditors, because all what is needed to run the business is a phone, a computer, and a printer... Hardly worth anything in liquidation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                    Yes. The thing is that a letting agent (as in the limited company) has usually no assets that can be disposed of to pay the creditors, because all what is needed to run the business is a phone, a computer, and a printer... Hardly worth anything in liquidation.
                    Bonds! We needs bonds! (Both financial and the other kind.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Letting Agents AWOL

                      This is going to have terrible consequences for both tenants and landlords, the landlord being responsible for the repayment of the deposit. The legislation was implemented to stop this happening,with regards to the deposit, agents having to go through a strict process with the TDS them to register and to hold the deposit monies in a ring-fenced account, if the agent keeps up with their membership payments then AND a deposit was registered with the TDS then it is the TDS who should repay back that money (it is more like an insurance policy against this happening). The TDS will confirm if the agent is still registered and if it holds monies against your property. I understand that Lassiters were originally with the DPS, and then it appears as per logo on website(which has now been taken down) the TDS. If monies are held with the DPS, then contact the DPS with your property details and they should be able to provide you with information on if a Deposit has been lodged with them.

                      I think to protect both tenants and landlords that the DPS need to come up with a solution, whereas once a rental is agreed, the deposit is paid directly by the tenant into the DPS, they will be given a deposit ID, and even if dealing with an agent, the agent or landlord can then log in to ensure that this money has been lodged and then the agent/landlord are given a unique repayment id and the tenant is given their one, so no one can get hold of this money and it actually has physically passed hands . That is how one can protect the deposit. (agents probably wont want this to happen, but we are talking about a lot of money).


                      I do know of Lassiters, I do know a couple of landlords who are in a similar situation and also tenants who are waiting for their return of their deposits, some of these corporate clients.
                      Last edited by Moderator2; 23-07-2011, 19:19 PM. Reason: Edited as requested

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Surely OP in Australia has another pressing problem if Lassiters were providing a full managed service, and gone belly-up, who does he get to provide nec repairs locally?
                        Needs a new MA pdq.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Julieann, advertising is not allowed on this site unless you either pay or are invited to become a 'topic expert'. 'Free' advertising would be incredibly unfair on those who pay or contribute in other ways.

                          A bit late to ask you to edit your post, but I'm sure the moderators will do it for you.
                          Last edited by Moderator2; 23-07-2011, 19:20 PM. Reason: Removed quote (since it's been edited)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Apologies

                            Apologies, I just wanted to try and get the information posted with regards the DPS, TDS, and wanted to make landlords aware that there are more landlords and tenants experiencig the same issues and more If the moderator can edit the post to delete the bit about being an independent agent then please do.. As I said I have experieniced these problems as well something needs to make other people who have propeties on a fully managed and rent collection basis with this ageny to get this sorted pdq.

                            Please also contact the www.tpos.co.uk (property ombudsman) as ths is linked to trading standards, and they may be able to run a local news report to alert other tenants and landlords.

                            Julieann

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by zsander11
                              If that incidents happen how are we going to chase those agents that disappeared after getting the money?. Indiana Homes For Sale
                              Come to think of it, how would someone in Indiana easily pursue this through the British Court system. Questions, questions.

                              Spiced Pork and Ham reported.

                              Comment

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