Eviction expert Paul Shamplina helps a landlord couple confront their evasive letting agent on the latest edition of Evicted! Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords.

The Channel 5 programme features landlords Suketu and Minesha Patel who signed a guaranteed rent agreement with an agent to manage their three-bedroom East London property.

But after receiving only one month’s full rent, payments became sporadic, before stopping altogether. They are now owed more than £7,000 and the agent is avoiding them.

“I would call the agent to follow up on where the rent was and suddenly he would transfer a nominal amount, sometimes £300, sometimes £100, but never the full £1,800 owed,” says Suketu.

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“He claimed he was paying us from his own pocket as the tenants had not paid rent. However, the agreement we had was supposed to guarantee our rental income regardless of whether or not the property was occupied, or the tenants had fallen into arrears.”

The Patels call in Shamplina for help, who decides to confront the agent in his office (see below) to try and get their property and money back.

The agent claims he’s the victim and the tenants haven’t been paying any rent, but when the Patels meet the tenant, they hear a different story. With rent arrears still escalating, the couple have no alternative but to start the eviction process.

nightmare agent

Shamplina says the prospect of guaranteed rent can seem attractive to landlords, saving them the trouble of dealing with voids, rent arrears, and eviction. 

He adds: “However, across each series of the show, I always make sure I expose the problem of guaranteed rent rent-to-rent, and try to educate landlords about this sector of the industry, because significant pitfalls remain for landlords if they choose the wrong company. At present, it is still like the Wild West with far too many landlords being duped.”

Evicted! Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords is on Thursday at 10pm.

7 COMMENTS

  1. The sooner LA become regulated the better.

    Cowboy LA are still being allowed to operate to the detriment of tenants and LL alike.

    It is unacceptable that a major part of a tenant’s domestic circumstances is largely facilitated by unregulated operators like LA.

    They should face the same regulatory requirements as Solicitors and should be qualified as well.

    There are currently no real barriers to entry which encourages any fly-by-night operation to set up.

    This is not rhe first time that this insightful TV programme has highlighted rogue LA.

    They continue to abuse their positions.

    I’m sure it would be better for all parties if LA became a far smaller industry but populated by regulated and qualified LA with far larger property portfolios to manage.

    That would make for more profitable and stable LA businesses.

    When IFA’s were regulated 90% of them left the industry.

    Such regulation would result in far fewer LA but of larger size resulting from inevitable amalgamations and consolidations.

    Professionalising the LA industry is desperately required.

    It would largely prevent these rogue LA operating as highlighted by Paul Shamplina.

    LA regulation is coming but not for a few more years.
    This is far too long.
    It needs to be in no later than middle of next year.

    If this forces many LA out of business so be it!!

  2. People entering into any sort of business need to do a lot of research, PRS attracts a lot of naive types who think there’s loads of money to be made when they don’t know the first thing about the business.
    Just as people watch a few cooking programs and decide that secretarial work is boring and they are going to be the next Gordon Ramsey when they have never even cooked a dinner party for more than a handful of guests. Then a year later wonder how it could all have gone so wrong so quickly, as they sit in the benefits office processing their claim for Universal Credit.

    With regard to rent guarantees its probably better to have that attached to your buildings insurance policy rather than rely on the word of an agent. They might tell you they are “Insurance backed” But in reality how do you know if the certificate on their office wall is genuine or up to date?

    Personally, I don’t want the day to day hassle of self-managing a rental portfolio but I’m happy to deal with the project management / major refurbishments that are required mostly at time of purchase but also through a program of gradual maintenance and upgrades. So I use letting agents plus I like the anonymity, tenants don’t know me.

    My experience of estate agents both sales and lettings has been that the larger the organisation the worse it is.
    I have used large organisations with 50+ offices and also used smaller agents with just one office.

    For me the best model are the franchised agents, they have the benefit of a larger back office function and branding but the actually business in each area are often small family run units which tends to mean they work hard as they need every sale or tenancy they can get.
    For those not fully up to speed with franchises… Both KFC and McDonnalds are franchises for example. The shops all look the same but they are actually small independent businesses.

    Research is key with a franchise because an agent operating in one area might be far better or worse than the neighbouring franchise. I know of one such estate agency franchise where the (Current) lettings manager in a market town is a convicted fraudster who did 4 years for mortgage fraud amongst other things and the neighbouring franchise owners were unaware of that until I told them!!!!

    The best way to get a feel for agents is to actually walk into their offices as a potential buyer/seller or tenant and just see how they behave. Google the staff names and see what you find out via facebook etc

    I remember walking into one agents in a town where I was considering investing…
    I explained that I was “Up from London” for the day looking for properties both to buy and then to be let fully managed. I was told yes we can help with sales but our letting dept is located in the next town so “You better go and talk to them”
    I pointed out that I was in that location just for the day and was told well we don’t do lettings here.
    The person did not phone their lettings dept for me… they did nothing. That was a large agency that operates throughout the UK.

    I walked out and entered the agents literally next door, they got out the coffee, comfy chair and were very nice, they new the locality well and were more than willing to accommodate me and fully understood that I lived 100 miles away so needed a full on proactive letting agents.

    Two agents literally next door to each other yet totally different attitude to potential customers.

  3. I get that the CS experience can be different with large and small LA.

    However that isn’t really the main imperative.

    It is when a LA is involved in misleading and fraudulent business practices such as GUARANTEED RENT!!

    Those LA who do engage in what is effectively RTR have substantial financial backing.

    Plus they can only operate GUARANTEED RENT with mortgage free properties.

    I know of NO lender that allows RTR or GUARANTEED RENT or whatever you’d like to call it!!

  4. It’s your business do the paperwork and meet the tenant don’t expect the agent to look after your investment.
    I’ve self managed multi properties for forty years been to court once and never had any problems I read about.
    If your a armchair landlord you deserve stress I believe.

  5. It’s a people business firstly the more involved will create more stress. I get your point “deserve” wasn’t appropriate at least you get my point.
    I’ve worked all sides of the industry and agents play landlords off onto tenants and visa verse. Thats my experience

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