Law gives landlords advantage in disputes
With the influx of new landlords making a killing in the rental boom of the last few years, it’s an unfortunate fact that it does attract those who are willing to scam people and simply use property as a way to take their money. One mother from Edgware recently learned this lesson the hard way when she was scammed for £500 by a scam artist who asked for a deposit and then vanished. Read more details below..
A MOTHER who was duped out of £500 in a fake landlord scam has warned house hunters to be wary when handing over deposits.
Mother-of-one Romona Smith thought she had hit the jackpot earlier this month when she found a three-bedroom property in Orchard Crescent, Edgware, advertised on classifieds website, Gumtree at just £900 per month.
After calling the number on the ad she spoke to a woman calling herself Sam and the pair arranged to meet at the house the following day. When she arrived Sam was already inside to let her in.
The following day Miss Smith signed a tenancy agreement and handed over a £500 cash deposit.
Sam said she could not hand over the keys as they were with the builders, but promised to hand them over later that week.
But the next time she tried to call the advertiser the number went straight to voicemail.
Miss Smith told The Press: “I kept on ringing her, and then on Friday I had a phone call from her number. I answered and it was Sam’s voice, but she said ‘this isn’t Sam. You have the wrong number’.
“I knew it was a con, but I didn’t want to believe it.”
In other news, a landlord in Doncaster was recently fined for breaking gas safety laws. Read more details below
Michael J Smith failed to maintain gas appliances and pipework or get them safety-checked within 12 months at the Conisbrough property, and did not give his tenant the necessary Landlord’s Gas Safety Record.
When served with an Improvement Notice by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) requiring him to get the safety check done, he ignored it.
Mr Smith’s tenant told HSE that a Landlord’s Gas Safety Record had not been provided and no one had come to the property to carry out any servicing or work on the gas appliances. HSE contacted Mr Smith asking for a copy of the gas record, but got no response.
A Gas Safe registered engineer brought in by the HSE to examine the tenant’s gas system in January 2010 identified five ‘at risk’ defects.
Doncaster Magistrates fined Michael J Smith of Grange Road, Bessacarr, a total of £400 and ordered him to pay £1,000 in costs after he pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Gas Safety Regulations and an offence of non-compliance with the Improvement Notice.
With so many people now looking to rent rather than buy, it means that scam artists such as the one in the first story have a bigger pond to fish in. When looking for new property it’s essential that you are very cautious and don’t pay any money until you’re certain that the person who’s letting it is legit. Be sure to keep checking back for more landlord news.