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The Bogus Landlords Who Rent Properties They Don't Own

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The Bogus Landlords who rent properties they don't own.

Detectives in Greater Manchester are investigating an extraordinary scam by ‘let and run’ property fraudsters.

And what was thought, at first, to be a one-off offence is now known to be a CID caseload of around 50 offences.

And the leading Residential Landlords Association fears that copycat versions could spread to other UK towns and cities.

“It’s a bizarre phoney property owner confidence trick,” says Chris Town Chairman the Residential Landlords Association - whose members own over 100,000 private rented properties throughout the UK. “All professional private sector landlords, property investors, self-managers and letting agents should beware and be extremely vigilant about who handles keys.”

According to the RLA’s bi-monthly magazine ‘Residential Property Investor’, an incident begins with a prospective tenant or housebuyer asking to borrow a key so they can pay a deciding visit to a vacant property on their own. But when they return it they have already had their own copy cut.

The bogus landlord then lets the property to his own unsuspecting ‘tenants’, takes three months advance rent … and disappears.

Mark Briegal, a solicitor at Manchester law firm Betesh Fox, is dealing with one case on

behalf of a property owner who was approached by a “perfectly pleasant and plausible” prospective tenant who expressed interest in renting one of his properties.

He later returned the key saying he was no longer interested. But a month later, Mr Briegal’s client visited the property and was staggered to find tenants living in it.

They had, in good faith, signed a six-month tenancy agreement without taking their

own legal advice.

“If they had, then a solicitor should have spotted that the landlord gave no address in the agreement,” said Mark Briegal. “However, I have to say that apart from this, the paperwork looked absolutely genuine.”

The fraudster also undercut the monthly rent of up to £1,200 that the property was worth – and let it for £950 so the tenants thought they were getting a good deal.

“The real problem with this fraud,” Mr Briegal added, “is that there are two sets of victims: the owners, who find themselves with squatters on their premises, and the tenants, who could find themselves facing eviction proceedings.”

The cheapest way of becoming a BTL tycoon. DIY! :lol: Surely landlords would not hand the keys over would they? so it must be the amateur letting agents who hand keys over to the DIY BTL'er.

I am getting creative aren't I? I like the term 'DIY BTLer' :lol:

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