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Fraud Warning Over London Short Let Flats

Fraud Warning Over London Short Let Flats

Landlord Discovers Bogus Company

London Short Let Flats
Trading From His Home Address

A warning has gone out to tenant and landlord consumers to beware of a fraudulent company trading as London Short Let Flats which is displaying a number of industry logos, including TPO and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).

The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) has posted a warning to consumers on its own website telling them to exercise extreme caution when dealing with the following websites:

NALS Chief Executive, Isobel Thomson told Property Industry Eye: “We reported the original site to Action Fraud and also to Trading Standards and have advised anyone contacting us about the site to also report their concerns to Action Fraud. We also wrote to the registered office address of Londonshortflats and sent it recorded delivery but the letter was refused.”

A spokesperson for the Tenancy Deposit Service also confirmed that the fraudulent website is using the TDS logo without consent or even being registered.

The fraudulent company only came to light after landlord, Martin McGrath, posted on the popular landlord forum, Property Tribes, to say that he had received a letter from TDS at his home address, informing him that London Short Let Flats was using the logo when not entitled.

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Recent Survey Discovers UK Landlords And Tenants are happy!

Recent Survey Discovers UK Landlords And Tenants are happy!

Four Out Of Five Tenants Happy
With Their Landlords

The majority of tenants living in private rental sector (PRS) rented properties have nothing but good things to say about their landlords, according to a survey conducted by Saga Home Insurance.

In a poll of UK tenants conducted by the insurance company, 77% of tenants who responded rated their landlord as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

Fewer than 8% of tenants, (1 in 10) described the quality of service they received from their landlords as ‘poor’, which the insurance firm claimed to be contrary to popular stereotypes.

The survey surmised that UK landlords are largely a morally sound, ethical group of business people!

However, 56% of the tenants polled by Saga still identified room for improvement in their tenant-landlord relationships. With:

  • 23% of tenants complaining about hard-to-reach landlords
  • 21% of tenants had reservations about the quality of tradesmen used for repairs.

The insurance firm also spoke to landlords themselves about their relationships with tenants, and the biggest obstacles to a cordial co-existence with their tenants were:

  • Late rent payments cited by 37% of landlords,
  • Damage to rental property – 32%
  • Failure to provide notice when vacating rental property – 20%.

Finally, the insurance company also discovered that at least 10% of landlords, an alarming one in ten,  had not paid tenants’ deposits into one of the three the Deposit Protection Schemes currently in operation, which as well as being illegal, can result in problems when tenant eviction becomes necessary.

Saga’s head of home insurance, Sue Green, commented on the survey results, saying “In the age of housing shortages and escalating rents, landlords have been getting some bad headlines, but the research shows the extent to which this portrayal is unfair. The vast majority of landlords are conscientious and ethical, although tenants do believe more can be done which is why we have released a guide with practical tips to help them improve their ethical credentials.”

Superstrike Case Causes Confusion

Superstrike Case Causes Confusion

Lord Justice Lloyd delivered judgement on an appeal from Wandsworth County Court for the case of Superstrike Ltd v Marino Rodrigues on the 14th June 2013 and since then conflicting advice has been offered by different landlord associations.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) told its members that they will be issuing updates shortly, after they have sought advice from its deposit protection partner the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

By contrast, the National Landlords Association (NLA), who have business links with MyDeposits and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) have condemned the speculation and online reporting of the case.

The NLA issued advice to members stating that the Superstrike case also only relates to landlords within a particular timeframe, who used Section 21 notices. In reality the case will have little effect on landlords and insist that the ruling only pertains to tenancies started before April 6, 2007, and which have subsequently become periodic.

The NLA are discussing the matter with officials responsible for tenancy deposit protection (TDP) legislation within the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and legal professionals.

It is important to understand that appeal judges only consider the case presented to them, not a similar set of circumstances, or a variation on a theme.

The precedent they set is therefore only applicable to cases subject to the same set of circumstances. This fact is crucial in this instance as the case of Superstrike Ltd v Rodrigues is not representative of all landlords or private tenancies.

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Complaints Over Tenancy Deposits Increase

Complaints Over Tenancy Deposits Increase

Homeless charity Shelter is urging private sector rental tenants to make sure their deposits are protected, having seen calls regarding deposit protection issues rise by 80% in the last two years.

According to the homeless charity, the average deposit for a privately rented residential property currently stands at £979 (GBP), meaning that if a deposit is withheld at the end of a tenancy, people will be pushed into debt, or even have difficulty securing to a new home.

Landlords who fail to place their tenants’ deposits in one of three authorised schemes within 30 days will face prosecution but it seems many tenants are unaware of the new deadline, leaving some landlords free to flout the law.

Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, commented: “It is extremely worrying that we have seen such a huge rise in problems with tenancy deposits at a time when privately renting is no longer just a stepping stone to something better, but a long term reality for more and more families.”

Landlords who don’t protect tenants’ deposits can face a penalty of one to three times the full value of the deposit, which will then be awarded to the tenant.

UK Landlords have been warned not to become complacent by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) ahead of the deposit regulation changes due at the beginning of April.

The new legal requirements for deposit protection allow a 30-day period to supply proof of deposit registration to the tenant instead of 14 days as from 6th April 2012.

The new tenancy deposit regulations state that the landlord can be sued on Day 31 for up to three times the value of the deposit provided by the tenant at the start of their tenancy, if the deposit has not been registered with one of the three official Government run deposit schemes or if the prescribed information has not been provided.

The TDS have summarised the changes and have also issued plain English answers to all the important questions brought forward by the changes due when the new Localism Act comes into force, including retrospective changes, penalties for missing the new deadlines, renewals, relevant persons and what happens with running tenancies.

Steve Harriott, TDS chief executive said: “The new provisions for tenancy deposit protection are welcome. But the extra time for registration is not a licence for landlords and agents to ignore the law. It means that the anomalies in the original Act have now been straightened out to everyone’s benefit.”

The TDS plain English answers to the new provisions for deposit protection can be found at: www.tds.gb.com

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