Bogus landlord lettings

scam.jpg

This is where a landlord or agent trying to let or sell a property is persuaded to hand over the keys to an apparently genuine customer for an unaccompanied viewing. The customer will often appear very respectable and have business cards and email addresses. However this person will in reality be a fraudster who then takes this opportunity to get a set of keys cut.

The fraudster or conman will then find a tenant for the property. However once the tenant has handed over his first months rent and deposit, the conman will disappear leaving the tenant and the property owner to sort things out. Both will be in difficulties.

Although the tenant can only be evicted by court proceedings (so he won’t have to move out instantly), so far as the landlord is concerned, he is a squatter and will be able to use the special procedure used for squatters where possession is normally obtained a lot quicker.

The tenant will not be able to recover his rent or the damage deposit paid, unless the conman is located (and even then probably not).

The landlord, of course, will have all the bother and expense of getting rid of the tenant, plus the delay in getting vacant possession may cause problems if a buyer has been found for the property.

Version 2

A variant of this is where the fraudster purports to let to numerous tenants all of whom pay advance rent and deposit but who never get to live in the property.  

See the article here.  Action fraud have advice here.


Moral:

Landlords: do not allow prospective buyers or tenants to take away the keys, however respectable they appear. Always do accompanied viewings.

Tenants: Be careful if you are renting from someone who is not an established agent or landlord with a proper established office. Make sure that the person letting the property is the genuine landlord or a proper agent. You can find out the name of the property owner via the HM Land Registry web-site.

 

 

Not a Landlord Law Member - Join Now