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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Landlord questioned over ‘threatening letter’ to letting agent

A private landlord who was reported to police for sending what has been described as a “threatening letter” to a letting agent about his tenant's deposit, which went missing along with £30,000 of other customers' cash, has been questioned by officers.

Tony Molyneux, based in Ipswich, wrote to director and owner of Jonathan Waters Estate Agents Ltd (JEWAL) Jane Russell looking for an explanation for the £975 that went missing when the firm went into liquidation last year.

According to the police, the 72-year old landlord threatened to protest outside Russell’s home in Frinton on Sea if the money was not returned, but Molyneux denies harassing her.

JWEAL was instructed to manage Molyneux’s rental property but learned after it folded that his tenant's deposit had not been transferred to a government-backed protection scheme, which is a legal requirement.

But rather than answer Molyneux request to know where the money went, Russell reported the landlord to Essex Police.

“I couldn't believe it,” Molyneux told the press. “More than £30,000 has gone missing from this company and nothing has been done about it but when I write to its director, I get reported for harassment.”

Molyneux has been trying to find out what happened to the cash, which he is liable for. He has contacted liquidators, Action Fraud and Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, in his quest for answers.

According to the East Anglian Daily Times, more than £30,000 of tenants' deposits has been unaccounted for since the company agreed to be voluntarily wound up in August last year, owing more than £500,000.

Pauline Scott Property Management, which took over the running of properties for landlords after JWEAL dissolved, confirmed the deposits were missing.

It is believed that around 20 Ipswich landlords have been affected.

  • Just Mogler

    It has happened to us!. The agent is supposed to self protect the deposits in a separate fund which is supposed to be protected by an insurance backed guarantee. TOO MANY 'SUPPOSEDs'? The agent fails to pay the insurance premium which lapses and spends the monies on ????. ...goes bust and NOBODY is held to account. ..except the landlord who is responsible for his agents action. What A Joke the system is. It Stinks!

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    Watch agents.
    In this area they told me last week that they are not bothered about fee cap as LLs will pay as he did not know how to process TA or deal with all the legistration!!. As i pointed out us Professional LLs have been doing it for years and we will not be paying for your Flash 4 x 4 and Designer Socks and stop trying to con us Professional LLs.
    I'm now thinking of opening up a Letting Only shop and charge £200 across the board to TF only!!

  • Paul Barrett

    When will LL realise that only they should hold the deposit monies.
    NEVER allow a LA to have ANY control over deposit monies.
    The insurance fee to hold deposit monies yourself is so cheap and reduces fraud risk to the LL to ZERO!!
    Forget the custodial schemes.
    Have the deposit monies in your bank account.
    At least with the LL controlling deposit monies it removes the temptation by LA of playing fast and loose with the deposit monies.
    The only person I trust to hold securely the deposit monies for which I am ALWAYS ultimately liable is ME!!


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    How can you legally avoid lodging Security Deposits with one of the designated organisations?

     
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    With myDeposits Insurance backed Scheme, for a small charge.

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    We now have to comply with energy performance everything. They are aiming for Zero Emissions by 2050 but we had all this already in the 1950’s, so it’s taking us 100 years to get to where we were 100 years ago, now the is some progress.

  • Paul Barrett

    There are a few deposit schemes which facilitate the LL holding the deposit monies.
    Yes a small fee of about £20 is payable EVERYTIME there is a new AST.
    So with these deposit schemes NEVER issue a new AST.
    Just allow them to proceed onto a periodic tenancy.
    If there is ANY change to the AST then a new protection fee is required.
    Not sure whether with the TFA whether a LL would be permitted to charge an admin fee for reprotecting a new AST.
    Most tenancy changes are as a result of existing tenant request and it is my belief that a deposit admin fee may be charged.
    As far as I am aware a LL is still NOT permitted to charge for the cost of a new deposit protection but it is still pemissible for a LL to charge an admin fee.
    The fact that the admin fee might be identical to the deposit fee cost would of course be purely coincidental!!!!

    As a complete aside I recollect a conversation with a mortgage broker who shall remain nameless who stated that if I had numerous BTL properties and had 2 month's deposit for each of them say on 30 properties that would be sufficient for a deposit on a BTL property.
    This on the basis that it would be highly unlikely that all 30 tenants would require their deposits returning at the same time.
    Now let us say you do have 30 properties and you have taken £2000 per property as a deposit that means at a fee cost of £600.
    So for £600 you have £60000 of effectively free funds.
    Naughty suggestion I know but quite frankly when assailed by the ridiculous S24 LL have to game the system to recover losses caused by the bonkers S24.

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