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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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Referrals To The Property Ombudsman Increase

Referrals To The Property Ombudsman Increase

Huge Rise In Referrals To
The Property Ombudsman

There was a 42% increase in the number of referrals to The Property Ombudsman (TPO) last year, according to The Property Ombudsman’s Annual Report for 2014.

The latest publication of The Property Ombudsman’s annual report shows that six months after the introduction of new legislation, making it a legal requirement for UK letting agents and property managers to join one of the three government approved redress schemes, the number of letting agencies and property management companies signed up to the TPO scheme has reached 12,915, a new record level.

The 42% increase in registered property lettings and estate agent businesses brings the total number of UK estate agents and property lettings offices offering free, independent route to resolve property and tenancy disputes to 26,735.

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Political Parties Focus On Housing To Win Election

Political Parties Focus On Housing To Win Election

Political Housing Policies Could Have A
Major Impact On Landlords

The May 2015 General Election could have a major impact on the UK’s private rental sector (PRS), with each political party promising something different for the reform of the UK housing market and the private rental sector.

Each political party has their own propaganda to attempt to influence voter sentiment ahead of the May 2015 General Election, but do they really have landlord and tenant interests at heart?

All political campaigning promises something different for home owners and landlords with some political parties focussing on real issues that could make a difference whilst others continue to apportion blame and responsibility on to local authorities and private rented sector landlords.

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3 Compulsory Redress Schemes To Investigate Lettings Complaints

3 Compulsory Redress Schemes To Investigate Lettings Complaints

3 Compulsory Redress Schemes
To Investigate Lettings Complaints

The Government have approved three compulsory redress schemes to offer landlords and tenants in the UK private rented sector independent investigation into complaints in the property management and lettings industry, bringing them in line with redress schemes already in operation for residential property sales.

The 3 lettings industry redress schemes are:

  • The Property Ombudsman
  • Ombudsman Services Property
    • The Property Redress Scheme 

The new schemes will consider all complaints made by tenants and landlords including non-disclosed fees and poor service delivery, and as with residential property sales where a complaint is upheld, tenants, landlords and leaseholders could receive compensation.

Two of the three redress schemes have been around for a while and The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is probably the most recognised of the two pre-existing schemes but little is known about the new Property Redress Scheme.

Most letting agents in the UK are already registered with at least one redress scheme, however 40% of the entire lettings industry, estimated to be around 3,000 agents, are to be encouraged to join up before membership is made mandatory later this year.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said that he hoped the new rules would strike the right balance between protecting tenants in the UK private rented sector and not harming the UK lettings industry with excessive red tape. The new redress schemes were just one part of the government’s efforts to secure a better deal for tenants in the PRS, stating: “All tenants and leaseholders have a right to fair and transparent treatment from their letting agent. Most tenants are happy with the service they receive, but a small minority of agents are ripping people off, and giving the whole industry a bad name. That’s why we will require all agents to belong to one of the official redress schemes. They will ensure tenants and landlords have a straightforward route to take action if they get a poor deal, while avoiding excessive red tape that would push up rents and reduce choice for tenants.”

The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer said: “TPO experienced a 34.2% increase in consumer enquiries relating to unregistered letting agents during 2013, which really underlines the importance of mandatory redress. Whilst my role as Ombudsman means that I am not a regulator and I can only review complaints after a dispute has occurred, making redress a legal requirement for lettings is a positive move. Clearly it would be better if complaints did not arise in the first place and robust legislation to enforce controls was in place.”

There are thousands of decent letting agents in the UK but there are also a fair proportion of rogue agents who operate under the radar, that lack the much needed transparency on fees and who are fleecing both tenants and landlords alike.

Landlords should ensure their appointed property managing or letting agent is registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).

Most UK tenants are unaware that they could be leaving themselves open to exploitation if the agent is not a member of at least one of the regulatory associations.

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