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Crooked agents have stolen £700,000 so far this year says campaigner

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.

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    It also stops tenants from giving a toss. Why would they look after the property if they have nothing to lose?

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    1.Insurers pursue the claims under subrogation.
    2. Currently claims frequency is 2% which is less than cash deposit.
    3. Claims history and no cliams bonus recorded identifying a trusted tenant scheme

  • Matt Williams

    One of our student agent competitors (and a friend of mine) tried the 'No Deposit' route a couple of years back. Said it was a massive mistake. Ended up footing a huge bill for tenant damage but mostly for tenant cleans. It may work better for more mature tenants, but it will not work for student tenants. You should see the mess the majority of our students leave their properties in, and that's with them paying a deposit.

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    "A couple of years back" an insurance product or anything similar did not exist?
    Nobody is suggesting that tenants pay no deposit and exonerate themselves from the responsibilities, but I do suggest an insurance based model is better suited for all stakeholders.
    www.Dlighted.co.uk

    No other sector takes a cash deposit from a consumer to mitigate risk?

    Matt Williams

    Hi Ajay, do we have a figure on the total amount of deposits held under the schemes in total, in the first half of 2017?

     
  • Matt Williams

    I think we'll just have to agree to disagree Ajay.

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    Indeed, and perhaps revisit once the one-month deposit cap in place.

     
  • Matt Williams

    I think we'll just have to agree to disagree Ajay.

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    March 2016 figures show £3.7Billion

  • jeremy clarke

    As a landlord there is no way any tenants are going near my properties until I see some commitment.

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