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Fake letting agencies created to avoid identifying landlord

A landlord has pleaded guilty to four offences which involved the creation of fake letting agencies in order to help him escape detection.

Thomas Flight, a landlord in Bristol, ran a property management firm operating from the city.

The business went by a number of different trading names, meaning no one ever really knew who they were dealing with or who was responsible when problems arose. The various trading names were also used for the3 collection of fees, charges and rents.


Tenants received what Bristol council calls “made up information” about fake letting agencies, including false names and addresses. He also registered a fictitious person as a director of one of his companies. 

Now, following a lengthy investigation by Bristol council, Flight has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay the council’s £25,000 of costs.  He pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to committing consumer protection offences against his tenants and - after several hearings - an agreement was reached between Flight and the council for him to plead guilty to four of six charges against him.

The court heard that Flight’s identity was hidden from his tenants, allowing him to keep security deposit money instead of returning it, and to avoid responsibility for a number of unfair commercial practices including charging banned and hidden fees to tenants.

Tenants would receive made-up landlord and agent information, including false names and addresses. Tenants who complained were then harassed with demands to withdraw their valid enquiries, until the local authority took up these complaints as part of its investigation. 

In February 2021, Flight was interviewed by the council and subsequently voluntarily repaid those tenants who had been charged banned fees or whose security deposits had not been returned when they should have been.

During this interview, Flight blamed the situation on an alleged letting agent who couldn’t be traced and is believed, in the council’s words, “to be another of his inventions.”

At one of Flight’s court hearings in relation to this case, he supplied further documents to Bristol City Council containing more landlord details that also proved to be false.

He has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay the council’s £25,000 of costs. But he has not been banned from letting properties as these numerous offences are not Banning Order offences under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

  • Roger  Mellie

    But why?? Looking after your tenants is far more profitable than going rogue.

    Kristjan Byfield


  • Kristjan Byfield

    Sorry, but he should be banned from being a Landlord. End of. Should also have at least a 10-year ban on being a company director.

  • icon

    Immediate ban agreed, an example needs to be made of this rogue idiot. Otherwise it happens again and continues to give the good agents a bad name.


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