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London landlord loses £100,000 to criminal sub-letting

Landlords with properties in Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge are being targeted by gangs of criminals who rent out their luxury homes, while usually paying no rent at all!

They often let them out to mainly Middle East visitors on short stays, earning thousands of pounds in the process.

Given the existing pathetic tenancy laws, it can in extreme cases take the landlord up to 12 months to regain possession of their properties, whilst the criminals have been happily raking in rent, and invariably the properties are in a poor state of repair when they are eventually recovered.

What's more, the idiots in Government are even considering making rental properties even more difficult to recover by the removal of the no-fault Section 21 provision in the 1988 Housing Act, whilst, despite clear evidence of criminal intent, the overstretched London police at Scotland Yard refuse to act claiming that tenancy problems like this are a civil matter.

Police chiefs are advising landlords and letting agents to be extra careful when vetting tenants for these luxury accommodations, while still refusing to intervene.

Patrick Bullick, managing director of a central London estate agency and chair of the London branch of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) told the Sunday Times that the rise of Airbnb and other letting websites is facilitating this criminal activity – “thousands of properties are being misused in this way”, he said.

One landlord quoted in the Sunday Times said that in the 5 months it took to remove the tenant she saw 80 different people enter into short-term lets, whilst loosing around £100,000 in legal fees, unpaid rents and repairs for the dilapidations.

No fault notice to be extended to 6 months in Wales

Yet more anti-landlord proposals continue to emanate from this so-called Conservative government.

In Wales, the Government wants to extend the notice period for what are termed 'no fault' evictions from two to six months.

Under Section 173 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, the Welsh equivalent of Section 21 in England, rental properties cannot be repossessed in the first six months of the tenancy. After that, tenants must be given two months notice – which is now set to be six, after an announcement by housing minister Julie James.

This will mean that it will be a year before a rental property can be repossessed after a new tenancy begins.

Douglas Haig, the R L A director for Wales, said: “This is a scandalous move that is essentially introducing 12-month contracts by default.

“Creating a situation where a property cannot be repossessed within the first six months and then introducing a further six-month notice period could cause huge problems for landlords. They will be left powerless when it comes to problem tenants. If tenants are not paying rent, huge arrears could build up in this time.”

The Welsh government will now consult on its Section 173 proposals.

Police investigate Southend-on-Sea estate agent

Police have been called in to investigate an estate agent based in Southen-on-Sea that was said to have closed unexpectedly.
Essex Police has confirmed it is looking into complaints about Leonard Peters in Southend.

A spokesperson for the local police said: “We received a report on Monday, June 3, about the theft of money in Thorpe Bay. It follows a report that a five-figure sum of cash was withdrawn from an account. Anyone with information is asked to contact Southend police station on 101 quoting crime reference 42/86970/19.”

The spokesperson confirmed allegations of fraud were also being examined.

The local newspaper reports that one woman who wanted to move back into her home asked the agent to serve a Section 21 on the tenant. However, this was never done. She also says that a month’s rent had been paid by the tenant butnot passed on to her, and that the deposit had not been protected.

Essex Police said however this was a civil matter. The agents, Leonard Peters has been in existence for about 50 years. Recent online reviews are damning.

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