Hundreds of expat landlords may have lost money as a leading letting agent has closed down owing them unpaid rent and deposits.
Several landlords have started legal action to try to regain money that was collected as rent for tenants and held on deposit for letting homes.
Landlord Action says one landlord is owed £10,000 and another at least £8,000 by letting agent Oliver Knights, which has a chain of offices in prestigious neighbourhoods in London, including Canary Wharf.
The attempt to recover the missing cash is due for inclusion in Channel 5 TV documentary ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ due for broadcast early in 2016.
The letting agent has hundreds of expat clients who relied on the firm to collect rents and maintain their buy to let properties while they are overseas.
Landlord Action says any hope of recovering lost money is bleak what has happened to the rents and deposits is unknown and contacting anyone from the letting agency is proving difficult.
Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action, explained his firm is already pursuing several cases against the firm for landlords.
“Many of these landlords live overseas and invested in the UK,” he said. “The experience is stressful and unpleasant for them as they trusted this firm with their investments and money only to be let down.
“The tenants are suffering as well because they believe they have paid the landlord rent when they haven’t.
“These incidents seem to be arising more frequently with letting agents targeting overseas landlords who rely on them.”
One foreign landlord with a letting property in Canary Wharf managed by Oliver Knights said the firm had told him an international bank had rented the home for three years, but after the first few months, rent payments became irregular and then stopped in April 2015.
Since then Oliver Knights have not made contact with the landlord.
The landlord visited the property and found the tenant was not a bank but someone who had signed an agreement direct with Oliver Knights and had no proof of paying any rent.
The tenant claimed they had agreed to pay £380 a week rent and a depo sit of just over £4,000. The letting agent then said the landlord had changed his mind and demanded the tenant should leave without a refund.