More angry landlords are coming forward to share horror stories about David Walters – the property developer and agent who is now being investigated by Trading Standards, LandlordZONE can report.
Walters is believed to be illegally working as a property agent with 4PropertyUK – formerly Lettings4All – despite being kicked off the Property Redress Scheme (PRS).
He was ordered to pay more than £20,000 to landlord Amy Trumpeter for pocketing her rent and leaving her house in Oldham with furniture missing and its roof fallen in after failing to carry out repairs, the Daily Mail reported last week.
She reported him to the PRS which found that he had to pay back £5,575 in rent and a further £6,425 for repairs.
However, he failed to pay up and, following a protracted county court battle, she’s frustrated that he only has to pay back £100 a month, despite posting photos on Facebook of exotic holidays.
But his activities have affected far more than just Trumpeter. Her victim support group on Facebook has 28 members who have stories dating back to 2015 but she believes more than 100 landlords have been affected – usually by not being paid rent by Walters.
“I know of one letting agent who has taken on four houses that he’s previously managed and pocketed the rent from,” Amy tells LandlordZONE.
“Some landlords are so ill and stressed by it that they’ve had nervous breakdowns, while others don’t want to come forward because there are court cases pending.”
£100k out of pocket
Landlord Tristan Mills says he’s at least £100,000 out of pocket after buying two properties in Oldham and spending £50,000 on renovations at each house.
These were overseen by David Walters, but never properly carried out, says Tristan.
“He was supposed to be a fantastic agent who could turn rooms into HMOs but that didn’t happen. I also had reason to believe there were people living in both properties who didn’t have a rental agreement and didn’t pay rent,” he adds.
Tristan tells LandlordZONE that expenses were also unnecessarily charged to him – such as three TV licences and broadband deals bought for only two properties and other maintenance bills that he doesn’t believe were carried out.
“I’m resigned to not getting the money back but I hope that by speaking out it will prevent David Walters from doing this again to someone else,” he adds.
The Property Redress Scheme says Walters set up a number of phoenix companies to enable him to gain membership, after being expelled for failure to comply with its decisions.
A spokesman adds: “However, thanks to the diligence of our employees we were able to spot these phoenix companies and expel them from the scheme immediately.”
LandlordZONE has contacted David Walters for comment.