Landlords & Tenants Avoid Scam Rental & Let Agents

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SafeAgent Logo

Both landlords and tenants are at risk from lettings agents and estate agents who disappear with rent and deposit money. A kitemark-style scheme has been launched to reassure tenants and landlords worried about losing money handed over.

Agents displaying the SAFEagent mark will already belong to a client money protection scheme operated by the National Approved Letting Scheme, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the National Association of Estate Agents and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. These pay out in the event of the agent going bust or misappropriating money that has been handed over as a deposit or rent.

The scheme is backed by organisations including housing charity Shelter, the NUS,  the Trading Standards Institute, the Residential Landlords Association and the British Property Federation.

In practice landlords are more at risk from rogue agents than tenants – tenants need to ensure their money goes to the genuine owner of the property that they are going to live in, Landlords need to ensure that the business handling their money is protecting it in a client account rather than using it to fund their own activities.

University Accommodation Empty

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Research from home insurer LV= predicts that parts of Newcastle upon Tyne, Lincoln and Sheffield could become ghost towns.  LV=  started in 1843 as Liverpool Victoria, and is the UK largest remaining mutual society. The LV= student towns report shows how student life is set to be transformed over the next decade, as the impact of rising tuition fees forces university students to reassess their finances and living arrangements.

Students will no longer be able to afford to live at University but will choose courses which allow them to remain in the family home while they study. Some cities which rely heavily on their university population to boost their local economy, could become ghost towns as non-local students abandon them for cheaper study closer to home.

  • Twice as many university students will live at home by 2020
  • Areas worst hit will be
    • Jesmond (Newcastle)
    • Moorside (Newcastle)
    • Broomhill (Sheffield)
    • Sharrow (Sheffield)
    • Boultham (Lincoln)
    • Carholme (Lincoln).
  • The number of UK higher education students will fall by 14% over the next decade
  • Crime and criminal damage will increase in affected areas, as many properties become vacant and derelict

Student Exodus Could Leave University Cities ‘Ghost Towns’ by 2020

London Flat Rental Prices Surge

For several weeks now various agencies have been reporting a flood of tenants, but dearth of flats available to rent out. For several weeks we have included a Rental Index Graph in the blog menu (look left!) for the use of our readers, and now Mortgage Introducer has published some figures produced by the owners of several agencies LSL Property Services plc.

The average rent in the UK rose by 1% in June, with rents in London rising by 1.9%. Rents have risen for five successive months, and are 3.2% higher than a year ago –  the highest level since November 2008.

Rental Index

Rental Index

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How to Rent a London Flat when Times are Tough.

house & garden magazine, december 2007 issue

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Right now it’s tough for tenants in the rental market, and you may wonder what you need to do to get a decent flat. The answer is pretty much the same as you would in easier times, the problem is the same and the answer is the same. Over the last 2 years we’ve published a number of articles aimed at helping tenants get the right flat at the right price. Today I’m going to summarise the whole challenge of renting a London Flat, linking you to the detailed advice for each stage.

Perhaps the single most important point to make, is that desperate people make easy targets for scammers. I’ve written a whole range of articles describing all the scams in operation. Read all my articles about scams, and don’t be taken in, you can use the tag cloud to identify scam articles .

Undertake a thorough search, there are lots of different ways that flats find their way to market, and the more of them that you try, and the more skillfully you filter the results, the quicker you will be at seeing the right property. Our article on searching for a London Flat to Rent , and a discussion on finding that flat of exceptional value.

When you visit a flat that you don’t rule it out on sight, then give it a good going over, upstairs, downstairs in the ladies chamber. Recently a study revealed that the average house purchaser only spent 42 mins examining the house they were going to buy! So look in the loft, check all storage cupboards, make sure taps, radiators and the boiler all work, check the pressure on the shower, open and close windows, look underneath and behind the furniture and turn off the lights to see how much natural light there is. Check services, telephone, broadband and wireless internet. Talk to any neighbours to see if you will get on with them, and if they are tenants of the same landlord find out whether they would recommend the landlord.

Finally when you are sure that this is the flat for you it’s time to negotiate. Negotiating isn’t haggling and we spell out how to get the best deal for your flat in our 10 Steps to a Lower Rent for your London Flat

Good luck!

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Why are the Cheap Flats Rented and the Expensive Studios Vacant?


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We got a stroppy mail:

Thank you for the info, but I do not realy believe in that “I’m sorry but the flats immediately available have now been let.”

These stories every letting agent do the same. I am not interesting in studio for much higher price! so when you have for the same price similer as it is advertised tell me about cheap flat.

She was clearly frustrated and angered by her search for a cheap flat, and so when reading my mail telling her that the flat she had enquired about had been let, she had missed the point that the other vacancies that I was describing were cheaper! So I was able to reply:

I can understand that you are fed up with chasing after flats which are bargains only to find that they have been let and that those still available are more expensive. Had you considered that maybe it’s simply that the bargains get let quicker than the others?

We are regularly introducing new flats to the market, and they then rent extremely quickly because they are superb quality at an excellent rent. If the flat that you have enquired about is no longer available it is not a sign that we are trying to get people to enquire after fictitious flats, but rather that our flats are cheap. You should have noticed that the flats now available are actually CHEAPER than the ones which you enquired about and have been let.

Right now it’s a landlord’s market, if you are hunting for a flat and see one reasonably priced – snap it up. If you don’t – someone else will have by the time you have finished thinking about it. Yesterday we had someone miss out on a flat because they were late arriving, and missed their viewing. Before they could arrange a new appointment the flat had gone.

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What References do I Need to Rent a London Flat?

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What references will my landlord want?

Before you move into a new property, it’s almost certain that your landlord will want some form of reference to check that you’re who you say you are , and that you’re not going to move in and immediately stop paying rent.

If you’re prepared for this and  have your referees primed,  you’ll stand a better chance of moving into your desirable property sooner rather than never. Let’s take a look at what you’re likely to be asked for.

Proof of ID

This is basic but essential. Have a passport or driving licence, plus a utility bill or bank statement to prove your current address. Make copies that you can give to your landlord: it shows you’re organised and business-like – and will definitely help you stand out as a prospective great tenant!

Employers’ reference

This is the other essential. Your landlord will want to know that you can afford the rent (i.e. you’re being paid enough) and that you have a stable job that you’re not about to lose.

Do your homework. Know who in your organisation should be contacted, and tell them you’ll be needing a reference shortly. Or better still, ask them to write you an open reference confirming your employment status and salary. You can still expect your landlord to contact your employer to verify it, but it might save a day or two if you need to move in quickly.

Previous landlord

Your previous landlord can – I hope – confirm that you pay your rent on time and haven’t trashed the place. The problem here is likely to come if the reason that you’re moving is that your current landlord is a shark who never completes repairs, or they’re uncontactable. You might consider offering your last-but-one landlord as a referee (best to ask them first) instead – though of course you’ll need to explain to your new landlord why you’re doing this.

Financial checks

If your prospective landlord wants a bank reference, be prepared for some delays

banks take a long time to complete references, and are understandably vague

Have 6 months of bank statements handy if you need to prove your financial status.

Expect credit checks – if there are problems, admit them up front and explain them. It’s better to say “I had a business that went under; I’m sorting things out”, than hope no one notices a CCJ or three.


In some circumstances, landlords may prefer to have a guarantor rather than a reference. A guarantor is someone who signs to say that they will pay your rent if you don’t: often a parent if you’re in student accommodation, for example. I know some landlords of HMOs who say they will only deal with guarantors: they typically rent to people who have little employment or renting history, and to have someone with their own home stand surety is, they say, easier.

Whatever references your landlord asks for, be open with them if you can’t provide them. It’s much better to be honest and offer an alternative than have a friend pretend to be your boss. Most landlords have taken plenty of references in the past and will see through that in minutes – meaning you’ve lost the property you wanted.

James Davis - Upad

James Davis - Upad

A guest post by James Davis, the CEO of, the UK’s leading online lettings agent. Upad lists your rental property on 100+ sites and portals – including Rightmove – for just £59: tenant guaranteed. Follow the Upad blog and on Twitter for rental industry news and tips for landlords on making the most of your properties

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July 2015


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