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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Name and shame rogue lettings agents, says top industry figure

One of the highest profile figures in the rental sector says rogue letting agents should be named and shamed as a warning to innocent landlords who risk being conned.

Paul Shamplina, founder and head of Landlord Action, is also the key figure in the Channel 5 reality TV show Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords.

A programme later this week will feature three cases which Shamplina says will show “a new breed of dodgy letting agents targeting small landlords and tenants alike.”

One case study in the upcoming show involves Susan and Gary Bailey, who bought a buy to let and were approached by a letting agent with a promise of hassle-free, guaranteed rent.

Having instructed the agent, the Baileys discovered his website was a copycat of a legitimate agency and before they could complain the fake agent broke into their house and changed the locks, remodelling the property and letting to tenants of his own.

Another case study couple - Monwara and Mohammed - hired a letting agency which then went on to keep their tenant’s rent. With a new company name above the door, the couple confronted the staff who went on to claim ignorance about the original agency.

Finally the programme looks at professional publisher Daniel Chira who thought his property in Romford was in safe hands with a local managing agent - until the company stopped passing over the rent. 

“Agents who get up to these kind of criminal activities need to be named and shamed and hopefully this episode will help raise awareness among landlords about the kinds of scams they can fall victim to if they’re not careful” says Shamplina.

Poll: Should more be done to name and shame letting agents that break the law?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • Andrew McCausland

    I like and respect Paul, but I fail to see the issue here. All the quoted cases are examples of fraud or other criminal conduct. There is already a procedure for dealing with this (the police) and it doesn't need yet another database of people or list of people to avoid.

    If LL want security then they need to do their due diligence and use agents with a good online reputation and membership of an appropriate trade body.

    If they just chase the lowest fee and don't do any checks then they leave themselves open to fraud - just as we all do in other walks of life.

  • Paul Barrett

    Absolutely INCORRECT.
    What these cases prove is that regulation; qualifications and bonding like Solicitors is called for.

    There are very few corrupt or criminal Solicitors just as there are very few corrupt and criminal LA.

    The difference being that the SRA maintains strict regulation and pays out when a client is ripped off.

    This doesn't happen with LA.

    The monies that are involved in the LA are too tempting for criminal LA.
    Get your house in order.

    All the CMP in the world WON'T convince me as a LL to allow a LA anywhere near my deposits or rents.
    All are paid to me direct.
    If I used a LA I would have a monthly DD for management fee payments.

    If rent isn't received I'm perfectly capable of advising the LA who can then carry out their management activity.

    LA wake up LL don't use you because you can't be trusted.
    I trust Solicitors because I know they are regulated and will pay out if I'm ripped off.
    Having far fewer properly qualified LA would make the LA industry far more profitable for the remaining and inevitably very good LA.

    Fail to do as I have suggested and watch your business drain away.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Don't think 'naming and shaming' is the right approach as too open to abuse or inaccuracies- we just need a properly funded enforcement agency- not a tiny team under the NTSELAT expected to somehow police 12k agents and 4m rental homes.

  • icon

    This will make good television and further Paul’s media career. But how about a programme about the vast majority of agents who are professional, hard working, honest and supportive of both their tenants and their landlords. The problem with a name and shame culture is that it will just drive the crooks further underground. Better to have a properly regulated sector where professionalism, good practice and good customer service is recognised.

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