Letting Agents Fined £20,000 for Illegal Rental Practices

How to guard against being scammed like this

By: Christine Hall, GMS,Christine.Hall@saunders1865.com

I recently read this article in The Evening Standard on this very subject.

An Islington based letting agency was found to be issuing “sham licences” which gave tenants no legal protection against being evicted nor any guarantee of recovering their deposits.  

The agency’s dodgy dealings were only uncovered when the renters called in council inspectors after being unable to claim back their deposit.  The letting agency has been penalised in excess of £20,000.   

These renters, like most, probably signed whatever the agent presented to them without too much thought.  They trusted the agent, the paperwork and the UK system. 

What this and other cases show is,  the UK rental system and UK letting agents cannot be trusted.

Especially vulnerable are the renters that come to the UK from overseas.

Recently an American employee at Saunders 1865 told us about her own experience with a sham licence.  This happened to her before she joined us obviously!  Jane (not her real name) found a place on the internet before she left the USA.  She worked with an unscrupulous letting agent and “reserved” her accommodation.

When she arrived in London she just signed the paperwork that was put in front of her not realizing that it was one of these sham licences.  The agent, who (as it turned out) was himself a tenant didn’t even have the owners’ permission to sublet.  When the owner found out all the “subtenants” were made homeless!

If you move people for work to the UK from overseas you need to protect them from being ripped off.  If you, yourself, are moving to the UK, you need to adequately protect yourself.

In either scenario, you get protection by engaging a local relocation expert.  If money is tight, just get the minimum service, which is to have the paperwork thoroughly checked for you.

But ideally you want full home finding support – and that support should start long before you fly to the UK. 

To arrange a FREE consultation with a Saunders 1865 local relocation expert, use this contact form