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Agency accused of over-charging and using fake repair accounts

A newspaper claims a lettings agency is battling allegations of overcharging customers and using fake companies to carry out maintenance work.

The Daily Record says The Property Ombudsman and the local Trading Standards team have been sent documents relating to the Martin & Co branch in Stirling, Scotland.

At least 15 landlords, tenants and contractors who suspect they have been wrongly charged have come forward, the paper claims.


It says: “Former staff claim fake maintenance companies were created using the bank accounts of office juniors. The Sunday Mail has seen letters from two of them, both ­alleging their personal details were used to set up bogus firms.

“It’s claimed that instead of hiring experts, Martin & Co staff carried out electrical and safety work under the guise of fake maintenance companies and landlords were then invoiced for work carried out.”

The newspaper then says: “We have seen paperwork showing this happened at properties in Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire. Another document reveals how a genuine contractor was asked to resubmit invoices to Martin and Co for higher amounts.”

The husband and wife franchise holders who run the branch deny any wrongdoing and the newspaper reports that Martin & Co and the franchise holders are suing a former manager over a missing database of client details.

The franchise holders declined to comment to the newspaper but Martin & Co told Letting Agent Today last evening: "Martin & Co can confirm they are aware of one complaint made to the Stirling franchisee, and that they have not heard from any authority over this issue." 

You can see the Daily Record story here.

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    Too much of this is going on, I'm sorry to say. It's why Letting Agencies are getting a bad rep with both landlords like me and tenants. There are plenty - a majority I believe - of honest and hard working agencies out there doing their best for landlords and tenants but a few spoil it for everyone else. It means that the government will be forced to step in and legislate, like here in Wales with Rent Smart Wales for example, which just increases the costs and paperwork for everyone.

    Roger  Mellie

    Evidence of malpractice Martin or is this simply anectodal?


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