‘Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords’ - That’s a wrap…until next time
Throughout June and July 2019, Channel 5 aired the latest series of ‘Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords’ featuring cases handled by eviction experts, Landlord Action. The show features founder of Landlord Action and brand ambassador for Hamilton Fraser, Paul Shamplina and has reached in excess of one million viewers per show.
The latest series delved into the dark side of Britain’s overheating rental market. Gaining unique access into the lives of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ of ‘Generation Rent’. The eight episodes followed the work of a letting agent trying to keep a roof over their tenants’ heads, and cameras were on the frontline with housing teams as they tried to protect vulnerable tenants living in squalor and dangerous conditions. Conversely, the series also witnessed Paul and his team helping frantic landlords who couldn’t get their tenants to pay – or move out.
Whilst the show represents some of the more extreme cases faced by Landlord Action, reflecting on the the series also provides an opportunity to highlight where landlords have gone wrong, the risks presented and what they could do to better protect themselves in the future.
Rogue letting agent
On 10 June, we saw married landlords, Monwara and Mohammed, hire East London letting agent Lang and Ward to manage their property, only to then discover the agent had been pocketing their tenant’s rent. They were owed £16,000.
*Remember* – It is a legal requirement for all letting agents in England to have Client Money Protection and be a member of a redress scheme. This means if an agent falls into administration or misappropriates your money, you are protected. If you have a complaint against your agent which you have been unable to resolve with them directly, you can refer it to whichever redress scheme they are a member of who will act on your behalf.
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The following week, young landlord Han Yip discovered his West London flat was being illegally sublet to three unsuspecting students. They had been paying thousands of pounds to live in an exclusive part of London, but their rent was being pocketed by a scam artist posing as the legitimate tenant.
He had, in fact, spent time in a US prison on fraud charges.
*Remember* – Never scrimp on tenant referencing. Be as thorough as you possibly can, and don’t just take a tenant’s word for it, ask for and follow up employment and character references.
Here is a guide on how to reference check tenants. And for more information on subletting read our article How can landlords protect themselves from subletting scams?
Serial bad tenant
The 15 July episode saw Jackie and John, a couple from a seaside village in Norfolk, locked in a battle with their non-paying tenant who was making their lives hell by refusing to leave but also not paying rent. What made it even worse was that she lived in the same building as them. As retirees, Jackie and John relied heavily on the rental income to survive, and the stress of the situation saw Jackie on the verge of a breakdown.
*Remember* – If you rely on rental income to live, you should consider taking out a rent protection insurance which will safeguard your rental income in the event that your tenant cannot or does not pay.