A Facebook friend, a fake bank transfer…a fraudulent tenant

A Facebook friend, a fake bank transfer…a fraudulent tenant

On tonight’s episode of Channel 5’s “Bad Tenants, Rogue Landlords”, two unlucky landlords learn the dangers of advertising a property via social media and how technology can be used to defraud landlords out of thousands of pounds.

Landlord Jessica and her husband Dennis find themselves in a nightmare situation. When they moved to a new house, rather than sell their old home they decided to rent it out temporarily. Never having been landlords before, they put a simple advert out on Facebook. They were quickly contacted by a potential tenant – a single mother who provided all the necessarily documents and passed referencing checks.

On the day the tenant was due to move in, she met Jessica and Dennis at the property. She presented a screenshot on her smartphone of a bank transfer showing that she had transferred one month’s deposit and the first month’s rent. Unfortunately, Jessica and Dennis handed over the keys to their property before checking the money had cleared. They soon realised that the tenant had tricked them, the photo was fake, there was no money in their account and now the tenant was living in their home rent free.

Left with £5000 rent arrears and in a desperate situation, the couple call in Landlord Action. Founder, Paul Shamplina, says:

“We hear many stories about rental fraud and how hopeful tenants are being scammed out of deposits by rogue landlords offering properties online, but the risks are just as great for landlords. On the one hand, technology is helping to provide greater protection for landlords, on the other, it is also creating opportunities for fraudsters and sadly, those with less experience of being landlords are easy targets. I suspect from the details of this case that the tenant was a repeat offender. As the industry continues to take great strides in identifying criminal landlords and letting agents, I agree with many other professionals that there should also be a register to identify ‘professional’ rogue tenants.”

Watch “Bad Tenants Rogue Landlords” tonight 12th July, at 8pm on Channel 5.

www.landlordaction.co.uk

Helen Evison, Landlord Action PR, t: 01276 62201, m: 07979 537 335

Paul Shamplina, Founder, Landlord Action, t: 0333 321 9415

EDITORS NOTES

About Landlord Action

Landlord Action is a UK based organisation helping landlords, letting agents and other property professionals. As a champion for landlords, it has campaigned extensively and was instrumental in getting the law changed to make squatting a criminal offence.

It was founded in 1999 as the first ever fixed-fee tenant eviction specialist, they revolutionised this area of legal practice. They have now acted in more than 35,000 problem tenant cases and are considered the authority in this field.

Landlord Action run a free advice line to help landlords and property professionals understand their rights: 0208 906 3838

www.LandlordAction.co.uk

About Paul Shamplina

Paul Shamplina is one of the key founders of Landlord Action with 25 years’ experience in the legal field. He has previously worked as a legal clerk, private investigator, debt collector and certified bailiff.

He has appeared regularly on TV and radio and lectures across the UK at landlord seminars and events and still works full time in the office, heading up the team of advisors.

Paul believes passionately in the rights of the landlord and is always available for comment on any landlord/tenant matters.

Precise Treatment Reduces Pain

Detail needs experts. Expert time is worth it when it saves you a costly mistake. Main objective: Get the property back. Best action: Very precise treatment.

Serving a notice is actually the most important part of the possession process.

It isn’t complicated but one tiny error can cause dreadful problems.

That’s why we say, don’t DIY and don’t use internet amateurs. It’s not worth it.

1. Compliance Errors
If the tenant doesn’t leave at Step1, the notice had better be valid. Because then it has to go to court. Any little error can get a case thrown out. And you have to start all over again.

2. Attempting Short-Cuts.
In an effort to be quick, some internet services aimed at landlords are using short-cuts around the process. But if the tenant doesn’t leave (50%) these practices can backfire at court and the case thrown out.

3. Trying to Save Pennies.
Internet services have mushroomed and landlords can expect to get what they pay for. To get the process done PROPERLY it takes a certain amount of time for an expert to look over a file and be accurate. Our fees cover that expert time.

Chasing courts for dates, arranging advocates and preparing court papers is time consuming. Especially if you’ve never done it before.

Some landlord and agents have served notices themselves. They believed they were saving a few pounds but it often ended up costing them more.

If you lose a claim, the court can order you to pay the tenant’s defence cost, which can run to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Our in-house Solicitors are there to get your property back as fast as they can. And we protect landlords and agents from themselves.

As experts, we know that in the rush to get things done, errors can happen. And those errors can can come back later to mess up your case – and the whole process has to start again.

You can speed things up – give us accurate information quickly. Help us to help you.

There are services on the web who will prepare papers BUT they get you to pay the court-fee separately and get you to sign the court papers – so in fact they don’t represent you!

If your notice (at Step1) wasn’t drafted or served correctly you risk wasting your court fees and losing a whole lot of time because of a small error.

We won’t let your case anywhere near a court until we have checked every little detail. To make sure you don’t waste time or money, at Step-2 we first only charge part of the fee.

If your notice is fine, then you just pay the balance of the fee and we issue the claim. If there is a problem with your notice or paperwork, we will advise you what to do next.

Courts take the view that possession proceedings can make someone homeless. So they are very careful. If there’s any error in the notice, they throw the case out. It’s the process. Get it right or lose.

If the notice is invalid, you have to start all over again. The weeks or months you’ve waited are wasted. If there were rent arrears, there are now more.

If there weren’t rent arrears, they might now start. More fees. More lost rent. And still no possession. Tenants can be alerted to making a counter-claim.

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