The man behind an early version of deposit replacement for the private rental sector has now set up a service encouraging tenants to complain to agents and landlords and seek compensation.
Ajay Jagota - who used to run the now-defunct Dlight deposit-free renting system - is now chief executive of a service he calls Veriwise.
It aims to sell insurance to tenants, and encourage those renters with complaints against landlords and agents to take action and seek compensation - Jagota will get a cut of any compensation secured by his firm on tenants’ behalf.
On his website he says that if compensation is £10,000 he would expect £2,500.
In a statement the company says if “the landlord does not comply” it will use a panel of solicitors who can “take the case to court to ensure the landlord complies and pays any compensation.”
Jagota says he will research into agencies and landlords to check whether they abide by appropriate licensing for the areas in which they operate, to heighten the case against them on behalf of tenants.
He claims one in seven renters don’t even know the identity of their landlord and states as many as one million tenants “may be at risk of losing their homes as the eviction ban comes to an end.”
“With 3.4m people still on furlough, 1.6m people unemployed and countless others just getting by a lot of renters are understandably anxious about keeping a roof over their head, and the Eviction Ban gave them a little peace of mind that their landlords couldn’t kick them out just for complaining about the condition of their property” says Jagota.
“These figures show that they are right to be worried – it’s no wonder that so many renters would rather risk an unsafe or unsanitary home than to make a complaint to the people who have a legal responsibility to put things right.
“There are strict laws making it clear that rented housing must abide by the ‘fit for human habitation act’ as well as laws preventing a landlord serving an eviction notice where a tenant has complained about disrepair called ‘revenge evictions.’ But the vast majority of renters have no idea what their legal rights are and can’t afford the legal fees to effectively fight their case.
“It’s to be expected that most renters don’t have the confidence to negotiate with property investors or big institutional housing organisations, let alone the legal skills to argue their case.
“At Veriwise our mission is to level the playing field by providing access to justice and ensuring even the most vulnerable of renters are able to take benefit from the legal protections open to them, regardless of the circumstances – as well as seeking compensation where possible.”
You can see the controversial website here.