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No jail for letting agent who stole £577,000

A letting agent who lost at least £577,865 in missing tenancy deposits and rent payments has escaped jail.

However Peter Leonard, 58, has been disqualified from acting as a director for 10 years following the collapse of his Hove agency.

His firm, Direct Residential Lettings, owes at least £577,865 according to calculations by The Insolvency Service. “The public should be assured that the Insolvency Service will seek to disqualify the directors of companies that do not obey the law and use other people’s money for the benefit of the company,” said an Insolvency Service spokesperson.


Leonard, who was the director of the lettings agency until its sudden closure in May 2013, will be prevented from becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company until 2025.

The Insolvency Service has been unable to account for transactions paid out of Direct’s bank account totalling £501,393 between October 2012 and May 2013.

The service says Leonard failed to safeguard tenant deposits and rent payments from as far back as April 2007.

He was also found to be guilty of misleading The National Approved Letting Scheme by submitting false accounts from 2010 onwards.

Leonard was put under police bail on suspicion of fraud in June 2013 following the collapse of the company. He was released from bail in March 2014 with Sussex Police stating there would be no further action taken against him at that time.

A winding-up order was made against Direct Residential Lettings in September 2013.

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  • Daniel Roder

    This will really serve as a deterrent, won't it? He's one very lucky man. Pleased to see he's been banned as a director for ten years, and I'm not totally sure he should ever have any more dealings with property. Given the amount of money he owes and the number of people his actions have affected, he's got away lightly.


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