Crooked letting agents have been convicted of stealing almost £700,000 of tenants’ deposits in the first half of 2017.
Campaigning letting agent and ‘deposit reformer’ Ajay Jagota keeps a running total of the cash value of deposits criminal letting agents have been convicted of stealing, which he publishes on a quarterly basis.
By the end of June overall thefts for 2017 totalled £673,273 with an average theft of £48,091 per conviction.
Convictions during July have taken the total close to £750,000.
During the first six months of the year some 15 rogue agents have been convicted of offences relating to the theft of deposits, with one receiving a three year prison sentence and others receiving suspended sentences.
Previous research produced by Jagota’s Dlighted company showed £1,018,100 of deposits were stolen in 2016 with at least one landlord or letting agent convicted every single month. He says 2017’s figures are on course to exceed that figure.
“Within the next four years, almost £6 billion will be held in tenancy deposit schemes, roughly £4 billon of which will retained by letting agents and landlords. Not only is this money missing from the UK economy, it is far too easy for it to go missing altogether” says Jagota.
“It’s simple – if renting is deposit free, it isn’t possible for people to steal deposits. Not only does deposit replacement insurance better protect property investor’s assets and offer them compensation for legal fees and lost rent – as well as making it easier to find and keep good tenants – it also prevents crime” he adds.
He says the legislation expected to be introduced by the government to cap deposits in England presents a good opportunity to introduce reforms to end deposit abuse too, he insists.