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RENT TO RENT: '�Why landlords should read my horror story, so they don't get ripped off like me'

Read our interview with a London landlord who is significantly out of pocket after signing up to a three-year guaranteed rent scheme recommended to her by a reputable letting agent.

A landlord is urging othersto be wary of letting their properties via '�rent to rent' deals after onetenancy went wrong and cost her �15,000 in lost rent and court costs.

Juliette Elderton, who looksafter 18 properties in South London on behalf of her family, instructed aleading national estate agency to rent out one of the houses within her portfoliotwo years ago.

The agency offered her a three-year deal on the property in Thornton Heath (pictured), in which she would be paid a guaranteed rent of �1,100 a month and, because she lives in Essex and has family commitments, Juliette was happy to accept, as it offered her regular income with the minimum of hassle.

Sold to her as a '�corporate let'via a specialist '�rent to rent' company, the arrangement began to unravel afterthe rental payments stopped, and Juliette realised what she had let herself infor.

It transpired that the rent-to-rent company had sub-let the property without permission to a Brazilian-based '�estate agent' who specialises in finding accommodation for Brazilians arriving in the UK to look for work, and who was charging the family in the property �1,600 a month, �500 more than Juliette was receiving. And then the rent payments stopped, without explanation, even though the tenants told her they were paying rent to the '�Brazilian agent'.

It then took Juliette over20 months to evict the family living in the house, and her attempts to persuadethe original agent to compensate her have been rebuffed.

'When you're paying an agenta lot of money to manage a property or find tenants you assume they are makingthe appropriate checks on who they are dealing with, but in my case it turnsout they weren't,'� says Juliette.

According to LandlordAction, which helped her evict the tenants, she now only has two paths open toher; report the agent to the relevant property ombudsman and hope for redress,or persuade the agent to admit liability and claim off their Public Indemnityinsurance.

'This is the fifth time I'vehad to take a tenant to court over the past eight years and each time I'm sorelieved to get the property back that I can't be bothered to chase the moneyI've lost '� but this time, because I've been treated so badly, I am going totake it further,'� she says.

Landlord Action's PaulShamplina says: 'The problem with rent-to-rent deals like this is that thereare so many companies and people in the chain paying rent to each other that it'sdifficult to even identity who to evict.

'And in my experience, thesekinds of scam rent-to-rent schemes are becoming more and more common; they needto regulated so that landlords have piece of mind, but it's too late forJuliette.'�


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