In light of TV documentary ‘Bad Tenants, Rogue Landlords’ which was shown on Channel 5 last night, we wanted to stress the importance of landlords using a registered letting agency.
Just as you would ask for references from a potential tenant, you should be just as wary of putting your trust in a letting agency without knowing more about their trading background.
Being registered with a professional body such as the UK Association of Letting Agents, or ARLA Propertymark, provides a reference of sorts for letting agencies. It shows that a reputable organisation is happy to say that they are a trustworthy company, familiar with the rules and regulations of the lettings industry.
Understandably, there is never a guarantee that absolutely nothing will go wrong with whoever you decide to go with, as it can be circumstantial and matters can conflict with personal opinions. However, there is no reason to go with an unregistered letting agency, when there are many known names that have registered.
It also became a legal requirement in 2014 for all letting agents to register with a redress scheme. This is to ensure that tenants have a clear way to raise any serious issues with their letting agent and get them resolves quickly and effectively.
Any letting agent not signed up to a regress scheme will face a fine of up to £5,000.
The episode of ‘Bad Tenants, Rogue Landlords’ focused on English teacher Muhammad Rahman, who was left in extreme financial difficulties after falling prey to tenants refusing to pay their rent, and a rogue letting agency who are no longer trading. It has highlighted the point that as soon as you find yourself in such a situation, you should seek professional help.
Paul Shamplina, the founder of Landlord Action, an eviction service for landlords and agents, has said: “Mr Rahman fell victim not just to a rogue letting agent, but also a rogue tenant, which made this case particularly distressing. With mounting rent arrears and a mortgage to pay, Muhammad and his family were forced to live in cramped conditions in one small room at his brother’s house along with his brother’s family, including four children, and take a second job to cover the costs.”
He continued: “This was part of an organised sub-letting gang, and when we discovered the sub-tenants hidden in a room upstairs during the High Court eviction, the atmosphere became particularly hostile. The police were called and the matter was dealt with, but I hope this scene acts as a reminder to landlords watching the show not to try and deal with situations like this without seeking professional help.”