help- dodgy letting agent!

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nicjill

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I have yet another problem! Any help would be really useful as I don't really know what to do.

The rent on my shop includes the flat above it. I used to live in the flat but when I bought my house, I decided to sublet the flat to bring in an extra income & reduce the risk of squatters getting in. I asked the guy with the shop next door which agent he used as he has let his flat out for 12 years and always with the same agent. He gave me the details & I got him out. He seemed to know what he was doing and the contract was straightforward so I signed it. He got a tenant in within about a month, taking a month's rent as deposit & a month rent in advance. I got a statement a few weeks later saying how much rent was paid, what his fees were and that what was left would be put into my account. A few weeks later, no sign of the money. By this time, the tenant must have paid another month's rent and no sign of that either. I left it for a while thinking it might just take some time for it to transfer, then I was worried I'd given him the wrong bank details so I tried phoning him. The usual number said 'this number does not receive incoming calls', when I tried the second line it was dead. I went round to the guy next door who knew nothing about it, he hadn't spoken to him for a while so he said he'd go round to his house. A while later, he rang me to say the house had a 'sale agreed' board outside and the furniture was gone. Looks like he's done a runner with 3 months worth of my rent (over £1k). His website is now down too and I've emailed him but its only a hotmail account so no saying he'll check it. I HOPE he just moved house and just isn't organised but I don't think that's likely. So where do I stand? We are going to speak to the tenants tomorrow to see how much money they have handed over and when they last saw the agent, then I guess we go to the police if we still can't find a way of getting in contact. I am so annoyed, and to make it worse, my parents are blaming me for it rather than trying to help. They are silent partners in my business but tend not to be so silent! I don't really know what to do next. I can still afford to pay my rent, etc but its a lot of money to lose and I now have a tenant with no contract.
 

sian1979

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i'd contact my local citizens advise it does sound a bit dodgy, sorry to say.

i rented out my house for a year with Ward and partners who were excellent and obviously a well established estate agency...try contacting them as well they may well be able to give you some professional advise, especially if they think that you may well give them some business in the future.

As for your parents blaming you.... dont worry we all have to make our own desisions in life and learn from them if they happen to be the wrong ones, i'm sure they have made some mistakes at some time. anyways, how were you to know he was going to do this to you, you spoke to someone who had used him before and he had done nothing to them..... it could have happened to anyone.

HTH's
sian. x
 

tinkywinky

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Hi I can understand what you are going through, only I had a dodgy tenant who didn't pay and had to evict him but it is MAJORLY stressful

I would do the following:

contact the CAB to see what your rights are

get legal advice from a solicitor - this person can no longer act as an agent if he isn't handing over the rent. That's theft! Do you have an agreement?

I'd go to the tenant ASAP if I were you and tell him or her the situation and from there you can sort something out.

You will need to do it yourself from now or get someone new. He isn't doing his job and does sound dodgy,

Hope this helps thinking of you in this situation and hope it gets better soon xx
 

nicjill

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Thanks for the replies. Yes I do have an agreement, everything seemed fine & legal.

Looks like he's just ceased trading and not bothered to inform us, just done a runner with our money.

Am going round tomorrow to see the tenants and find out how bad the damage is!
 

littlegrohl

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Talk to the tennant and tell him that untill you hear from the agent he is to pay you personally.. Untill you can sort out the details i think this is fair.. One of you will hear from him when he stops getting the cash!
 

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