WARNING OVER ROGUE AGENTS AFTER TV EXPOSE

THE dangers of using an unregulated letting agency have again been highlighted to millions of TV viewers as part of an investigation by BBC's Watchdog programme.

The expose of Grattan Estates, of Finchley, London, was featured in the series' Rogue Traders section, claiming that the business had shut its doors after taking -and not returning - a £2,700 deposit from prospective tenants

Linley & Simpson has long campaigned about the risks of using an unregulated agent - as many landlords and tenants are finding out to their cost.

Director Will Linley said: “This is the latest in a long line of cases where people have gone to a cowboy agent and been left out of pocket. Ultimate reassurance can only be provided by those agents, like us, who are members of a client money protection scheme and display the SAFEagent logo as a result.”

Letting Agent Today reported that Grattan Estates was alleged to have taken the money from a pair of young women who were quoted £420 weekly rent for a property they liked.

Lizzie and Claire - for whom the deposit represented a month's income - paid over the money after their offer of £400 a week was apparently accepted.

However, when they came to sign the letting agreement, they found the weekly rent had been written in as £500.

That meant they could not afford the property, and they asked unsuccessfully for their deposit to be returned.


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