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Written by Emma Lunn

A North London landlord has revealed how dodgy letting agents were cheating her – and taxpayers – out of thousands of pounds each month.

The Ham & High revealed how Omotunde Lawal believed she had let out her home to a Swiss businessman and his family, who paid £560 a week.

The letting agent Lawal used told her the tenant was renting the property through his employer, a company called Kingsman & Kingsman Ltd.

She arranged a meeting with the tenant in January 2012, two years after he had moved in. The tenant revealed he’d never been employed by Kingsman & Kingsman, but that he had been claiming housing benefit since he arrived in the UK in 2004.

Crucially he revealed that Westminster Council was paying a monthly rent of £4,550 for the property – more than £2,000 a month more than Miss Lawal believed the house was being let for.

Further investigations revealed that Kingsman & Kingsman’s office address was actually the home of one of the letting agents, a company run by Karen Bain, her husband Adrian Nyack and his sister Nicola Nyack.

Lawal pursued the company through the courts, and in March this year Judge Seymour – sitting in the Queen’s Bench at the High Court – ordered the letting agents to repay her £67,559.56 in lost rent, as well as £25,000 in legal costs.

Lawal has yet to see any of the money, and the lettings agent has since been sold to a new owner. “I saw the state of the house, I saw all the kids, and I knew this was not a corporate letting,” she said.

Miss Lawal told the Ham & High that “no one at Westminster seemed bothered” when she raised her concerns about the deception with the council.

The story reiterates the need for landlords to know who’s living in their property and to check out any letting agent they’re considering employing.



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    That's a profoundly poor example to choose Hugh Simmonds. Motorists are er...I do believe you mean "punished" for 'trivial' transgressions for often-times a very good reason. Suggest you try re-phrasing that to include something of less than significant issue than some burk on a mobile phone, or break lights not functioning correctly, or poor tire treads, or some such - because motorists get away with a lot of those things on a regular basis as it is.

    • 13 November 2013 22:16 PM
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    It has happened to me few times over the years, especially if the agency is managing the property. Sometimes they will say they have a family, but when infact they are renting them as individual rooms. It is a nightmare, because you find they have put locks on bedrooms and living rooms etc..

    Even some tenants will sublet rooms living rooms and bedrooms. .If there are too many people living there, it runs down the property quickly....

    The laws are weak to protect landlords.

    • 12 November 2013 00:45 AM
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    I'm not surprised the Council isn't interested - their obligation is to pay benefit to someone who's entitled to it - they have no involvement in any subsequent deception.

    • 05 November 2013 17:59 PM
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    I reported a similar problem to Camden Council in 2011 yet absolutely nothing was done. There is widespread fraud on a large scale being organised at a significant cost to taxpayers. It is a pity that councils are not as vilgilant with this problem as they are with motorists who are severely pubished for trivial transgressions.

    • 05 November 2013 08:59 AM
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