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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Massive fraud committed by three London letting agents

Three letting agents who failed to return tenants’ deposits or pass on rent payments to landlords have been convicted of fraud by a jury after a five-week trial.

The men, who ran companies in Islington and neighbouring London boroughs using the trading name Crestons, were convicted of carrying on business for a fraudulent purpose, leaving at least 19 victims around £105,000 out of pocket.

During the trial Blackfriars Crown Court heard testimony from more than 30 witnesses. 

Between 2014 and 2016, the men failed to refund deposits to private tenants at the end of their tenancies, failed to pass on rent to landlords, and failed to put tenants’ deposits in an approved protection scheme.

The investigation was triggered by complaints from tenants and landlords who had fallen victim to Crestons. The convictions follow an investigation by Islington Trading Standards and other departments of the council.

A local authority spokesman says: “This is a major victory for the council, on behalf of private tenants and landlords not just in Islington and London but across the country – sending the message loud and clear that rogue letting agencies cannot rip off their clients and get away with it.

“This business trading as Crestons, using various company names, alone would have dealt with a huge number of tenants in Islington and neighbouring boroughs and I am extremely proud of our Trading Standards team, who worked so hard gathering evidence and witness testimony to build a strong case and secure these convictions.

“Prosecutions like this are rare but vital in the fight for better standards in the private housing market. We won’t stop here.”

The council is now pursuing confiscation orders against the three men, to claw back as much money as possible for the victims.

The men will be sentenced next month.

  • Angus Shield

    I feel sick when I read this type of story as this profession is difficult enough without outright crooks operating within it. I hope that the convicted receive custodial sentences in recognition of the grief and nonsense the rest of us have to put up with operating compliantly and defending our own honour!

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    • S S
    • 13 December 2018 21:32 PM

    You never see stories "Letting Agent returns full deposit as Tenant leaves Property in good condition".
    Doesn't make a good headline - but wish they would for all the Fantastic Agents out there who pay and abide by compliance regulation.

    S l
    • S l
    • 13 December 2018 22:16 PM

    haha good one

     
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    Thee is a lot more information about this on the web. G...le Blackfriars Crown Court, fraud, property, fines -november - 2018

    Apparently the council did all the prosecution work. I always thought fraud was a police matter but it seems that the councils can know play at being police if property is involved. This was a case where a prosecution was thoroughly deserved so it is hard to complain BUT....?

  • S l
    • S l
    • 13 December 2018 22:27 PM

    warning! council now have the power to prosecute landlords and landlord will have criminal records for failure to comply. isnt this too much for those who only do it by chance and to provide for old age pensions? find out who gave them the criminal powers and why? most powers have a limitation and if you read cases, often council dont have the power to do something but do it anyway. so for defence, first ask where they got the power from and then what defence are available against that so called offence. shame the court judges do not know enough about the law to know whether the council have such power and where they derive the power from and to make judgment whether they should be entitle to have such huge power over a letting matters.

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    Think you’ll find a lot of the legal powers come under The Localism Act, The Landlord and Tenant Act and the Town and Country Planning Act. It does not confer police powers but it does allow Councils to bring action in criminal cases, similar to other enforcements such as noise abatement or powers under the Anti Social Behaviour Order Act.

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