View Full Version : Agents lying to obtain money

02-11-2009, 17:20 PM
I am not sure if you can help. But I had my deposit protected for £900 cash and £1100 was guaranteed by the council. The dispute went through mydeposits and £260 awarded (LA were claiming for £1400). The LA then lied to the council to claim more money from them. They originally said that no money had been received. Then they changed their story and said that the full £900 cash had already been awarded to them so they were claiming for the remaining £400. They had, in fact, put the whole dispute through to the council even though some items had been paid for. Unfortunately the council sent them £230 before they realised the claim was fraudulent. The council have written asking for the return of this money but I am aware I may have to take them to court to get this returned. The council have advised that as everything they have reclaimed for was in the original dispute, and the LA lied to obtain futher money, it is likely the courts will agree in my favour. I would like to make an official complaint about the agents but I am not sure how I go about this. I have asked if they were governed by any regulatory body but they said they didn't know. Could anyone tell me what I need to do to make sure the agents are prevent from doing this again?

02-11-2009, 19:15 PM
Does the agent advertise as members of any particular scheme? ARLA / Property Ombudsman / NLAS? If so, that organisation is your first port of call. If not, the court is your only course of action.

Basically, you write a 'letter before action' to the Agency, telling them what you want, why and by when. Once the time is up (14 days is usually fine) go to the MCOL website and file your claim. Remember it will be up to you to prove your claim in court, so you need to get together that proof - bills from the council, statements from MyDeposits etc. Basically every single thing you say in the 'why' bit, have a piece of paper that backs it up ;)

Good luck

03-11-2009, 08:38 AM
Thank you for that information. I think they are part of the Property Ombudsman. I think I will go through them and send a letter of intent as the manager may not be aware that this has been done and I may get my money back quicker. Here's hoping...

03-11-2009, 12:06 PM
I suggest you call TPO first (01722 333306) to check if they are members and if your problem would be covered.

03-11-2009, 13:45 PM
Thank you again. I have just called them and they are a member. I would still have to go to court to get the money back but they would deal with the complaint about the agents obtaining the money by deception. I have sent a copy of the letter from the council to the designated complaints person at LA and I have already had a response advising they will look into it so I am hoping I will not have to take it any further. Who would have thought that LA wouldn't be entirely honest?!?

03-11-2009, 20:36 PM
Go for it. Although I'm very supportive of agents generally I am most keen to see those who are poor (or even dishonest) brought to book.

04-11-2009, 19:53 PM
I have had a response from LA and they claim it was an error. They thought they could obtain more money even though the claim had gone to arbitration. They couldn't explain why I had paid for some items twice though. Also, they claimed that it was the council that weren't being entirely honest, not them. They were also extremely annoyed with me for having the audacity to make a complaint. Good news though - they are sending my money back. At least I won't need to start court proceedings. I still want to make a complaint about them to the Property Ombudsman as from their attitude today I am convinced they will continue to do things like this. If I do make a complaint do the ombudsman have the power to stop them doing this again? I have looked on their site but I am not sure what power they have. Does anyone know if they can force LA to adhere to the correct procedures etc.

05-11-2009, 09:27 AM
You may also want to report the matter to the police for investigation. Obtaining money by deception is often a crime.

05-11-2009, 13:22 PM
This definately needs to go further as I have received the documents from the council and LA reclaimed for all the items that had been paid for through my deposits. LA claims they were doing nothing wrong but surely receiving payment twice for disputed items is fraud. They also told the council that there had been several complaints about loud arguments and noise that they had to deal with. Complete fabrication. That has annoyed me more than the fact that they were trying to take my money. Now I am definately going to the ombudsman. Thank god LA I am currently with are so professional.

05-11-2009, 14:19 PM
but surely receiving payment twice for disputed items is fraud.

Not necessarily, generally speaking, fraud requires an element of dishonesty or recklessness as to your actions.

05-11-2009, 15:33 PM
Not necessarily, generally speaking, fraud requires an element of dishonesty or recklessness as to your actions.
OK- but if Agent knows that the amount's been paid twice and does not return either...?

07-11-2009, 17:35 PM
My complaint with the agents is completed and I now need to take it further. They are members of NAEA and the property ombudsman. I looked at both sites and the ombudsman seems to be about compensation and the NAEA about disciplinary procedures. I don't want compensation but I do want them disciplined for this to prevent them doing it again and hopefully making the public aware that they are not a reputable agent. Does anyone know which one I need to go through to complain?