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Letting agent gets 10 year ban as £577,000 goes missing

A letting agent has been disqualified from acting as a director for 10 years following the collapse of his Hove agency, leaving a debt of at least £577,865 thanks to what appears to be missing tenancy deposits and rent payments.

Peter Leonard, 58, has been disqualified from acting as a director for a decade for “failing to make sure that tenant deposits and rent payments collected in by the company were properly protected”.

His firm, Direct Residential Lettings, owes the sum which has been calculated by The Insolvency Service. “The public should be assured that the Insolvency Service will seek to disqualify the directors of companies that do not obey the law and use other people’s money for the benefit of the company” says an Insolvency Service spokeswoman.


Leonard, who was the director of the lettings agency until its sudden closure in May 2013, will be prevented from becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company until 2025.

The Insolvency Service has been unable to account for transactions paid out of Direct’s bank account totalling £501,393 between October 2012 and May 2013.

The service says Leonard failed to safeguard tenant deposits and rent payments from as far back as April 2007.

He was also found to be guilty of misleading The National Approved Letting Scheme by submitting false accounts from 2010 onwards. 

Leonard was put under police bail on suspicion of fraud in June 2013 following the collapse of the company. He was released from bail in March 2014 with Sussex Police stating there would be no further action taken against him at that time.

A winding-up order was made against Direct Residential Lettings in September 2013.

  • Kenny Sahota

    That's a hell of a lot of money to 'go missing'. Yet another example of excessive greed in an industry which doesn't need any more bad press. It's a shame that letting agents/landlords will consequently be tarred with the same brush when it is a minority committing these offences.

  • Emma  Mitchell

    I believe that any director of a letting/estate agent who commits a crime on this scale should be disallowed from the estate agency industry indefinitely. Should it really be the case that Mr Leonard and those like him can just swan back into the same position again?

  • Oliver Wharmby

    I would like to know what happened to the audit? I hate to think how many agents are providing false information to NALS etc! regardless of the extent of the audit and the amount the member is being audited, it still feels like the consumer remains exposed. The following link tells you a little more about our PI + CMP facility for property professions. http://www.lonsdaleib.com/our-business/chartered-surveyors-property-professionals/


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