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Banned! Fraudster lettings agent jailed and cannot be a director

Trading Standards has stopped a lettings agency owner from being a company director after he defrauded customers by over £80,000.

Francis Smart, 46 and the proprietor of Smart Residential Letting Agents, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in respect of retaining rent and deposits under S1 Fraud Act 2006 some two years ago after it emerged that he had broken the law by pocketing tenancy deposits instead of placing these into a Deposit Protection Scheme.

He was subsequently sentenced to 32 months per offence, to run concurrently, by a judge at Ipswich Crown Court last summer, who commented that Smart’s actions were “particularly sad” adding that he had “betrayed those who trusted you and caused a lot of distress”.


Officers from Suffolk Trading Standards worked alongside the National Trading Standards to secure the conviction after more than 30 witnesses alleged that they had faced substantial losses after using Smart’s services.

Both Trading Standards teams also applied to have Smart disqualified as a company director, with a judge agreeing to this for a period of eight years at Ipswich Crown Court.

Graham Crisp, head of Suffolk Trading Standards, says: “[The] ruling also means that Smart is not allowed to be involved in the forming, marketing or running of a company for the same time period, which should bring some comfort to his clients who lost thousands of pounds due to his lies and deceit, and that he will not be able to repeat these actions once out of prison.”

And a spokesperson for Suffolk council adds: “Securing justice against Francis Smart is the latest in a long line of successful court cases for the team, and I have no doubt that their actions have stopped landlords, including those who bought an investment property to fund their retirement, from facing any further losses from a despicable fraudster who didn’t think twice about blatantly disregarding the law.”

By law, a deposit must be placed in a Deposit Protection Scheme within 30 days of the landlord receiving it, and landlords are also obligated to provide information to tenants about where their deposit is held.

  • icon

    Sentences should have been consecutive not concurrent.


    IT should also be 8 years AFTER he has come out of prison, not 8 years starting from now.

  • icon

    Completly agree and more extensive

  • Roger  Mellie

    Good riddance to bad rubbish


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