Property campaigner has started ‘stolen deposits totaliser’
By |Published On: 13th January 2017|

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Property campaigner has started ‘stolen deposits totaliser’

By |Published On: 13th January 2017|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

Long-time anti-deposit campaigner Ajay Jagota has moved to compile what he has coined a ‘stolen deposits totaliser.’ Mr Jagota says that this will keep tabs on how much rogue letting agents have been convicted of stealing in 2017.

Rogue Agents

The first example of 2017 came this week when Julie Feilden admitted 13 counts of theft by employee at South East Suffolk Magistrates. This came after she stole almost £16,000 from her former employer, Smith Gore.

In her role as lettings administrator, Feilden was responsible for taking deposits from tenants and placing them in Government approved tenancy deposit schemes. However, she stole various amounts, ranging from £450 to £3012 between March 2010 and September 2015.

The business was subsequently acquired by Savills and was a member of industry body ARLA and subject to annual auditing.

Research from Mr Jagota revealed over £1m worth of deposits were stolen during 2016, with at least one landlord or letting agent convicted per month.


Mr Jagota, founder of deposit-free renting solution Dlighted, noted: ‘2.4bn of the UK’s £3.2bn rental deposits are held by lettings agents, with next-to-no supervision over what happens to that money. It’s far too easy for this money to be used illegally or inappropriately and this is a huge scandal waiting to happen.’[1]

‘The worst part is, this is just the tip of the iceberg and this is not just about a handful of criminals. We’ve even been approached to assist in one major new case which will be coming to light in coming weeks. Deposit money must be placed in a completely ring-fenced account and not touched by the agent or landlord for any business purpose. But there is a common belief in the industry that to do so it completely legitimate and as a result there are doubtless countless otherwise upstanding and honest agents who misappropriating client money by mistake,’ he continued.’[1]

Property campaigner has started 'stolen deposits totaliser'

Property campaigner has started ‘stolen deposits totaliser’


Jagota went on to say, ‘This is a government-backed system which is subject to no scrutiny at all. Not even the media! We’ve had respected and apparently knowledgeable journalists tell us letting agents can use deposits any way they see fit!’[1]

‘This agency was even a member of ARLA and as such would have been audited annually. But these crimes went on for five years and nothing was uncovered. I’ve tweeted them asking for an explanation but so far nothing has been forthcoming. If landlords and letting agents didn’t take cash deposits these crimes wouldn’t be possible.  And that’s why the deposit system needs urgent reform,’ he concluded.[1]



About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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