Complaints from landlords and letting agents have been passed to LandlordZONE about a rent-to-rent provider whose founder is lauded online for raking in up to �12,000 a month.
Merleen Gocan (pictured) is a director of the Good Living Group (GLG) and, along with business partner Sammy Hills has in the past boasted of turning over �350,000 from rent-to-rents in a year.
But the company has been ordered by the Property Redress Scheme (PRS) to repay thousands of pounds to two investors and has two more complaints pending.
However, Gocan denies all allegations and says the PRS claims are being disputed.
Nicole Barratt-Rae, MD of Barratt Sales and Lettings in Windsor, says one of her landlords is owed �5,000 in rent after a deal turned sour.
'I manage a block of six flats for a landlord who unwittingly signed up to GLG as part of a rent-to-rent deal, which then turned them into serviced accommodation,'� she tells LandlordZONE.
'When the firm stopped paying him rent in July, GLG told us we would be illegally evicting the tenants if we tried to take the properties back.
Luckily, they were empty, the keys had been left in the key safe for all flats and the landlord had put a one-year break clause into his three-year management agreement.'�
Propertymark member Barratt-Rae adds that Gocan did not have the right to manage the property due to non-payment of rent as laid out in the tenancy agreement. 'This was brought to her attention many times and she chose to ignore it.'�
Barratt-Rae claims six other people she knows of have had bad experiences including a landlord who paid GLG for furniture that didn't exist, and then received complaints about his property via Booking.com.
The PRS has recently compensated one landlord �22,628 after he funded repairs and paid rent on the basis that his property was going to be converted into an HMO - but Good Living Group failed to get a HMO licence and did not make the property comply with any legal requirements.
In another case, the PRS ordered that a finders' fee of �6,300 was paid back after the investor decided not to go ahead with a deal '� which Good Living Group contested.
Merleen Gocan tells LandlordZONE that in the case of the block of flats, GLG kept the rental payment up-to-date for the contract and accuses Barratt Lettings of breaching the agreement and illegally evicting tenants.
She says: 'The �5,000 in question is the last four weeks' rent when she changed the locks during that period. I have an email trail, text communication and video evidence of the full situation. Landlords should be made aware that this agent takes things into her own hands and acts illegally. The six other landlords' claims [mentioned above] is fake.'�
Gocan adds that Hills is not a director of the company and was consulting with her on that particular deal.
LandlordZONE has approached Sammy Hill for comment.