Bogus Agent Swindles Tenants

Posted: 17/5/2016

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A bogus letting agent has conned members of the public out of thousands of pounds, making some of them homeless in the process.

Police believe there may be as many as 17 victims of the man, who claims to work for ‘Red Bricks Estate’.

Prospective tenants were caught after seeing an online advertisement for a flat in Slough.

They handed over deposits, admin fees and the first month’s rent and were given a moving-in date of around the beginning of last month.

When they arrived at the flat, they found they could not move in.

Police said: “This scam has had a devastating impact on so many people and their families as they were promised a rental property in Slough which never materialised. “Instead, they lost thousands of pounds by making upfront payments to a man they trusted to be an estate agent.

“Working with Slough Borough Council, we have been able to identify some of our victims as they rendered themselves homeless as a consequence of being scammed, with some being temporarily accommodated since.

“Through our inquiries, we know that there are other victims of this scam who have not yet contacted us. This could be as many as 17 families or individuals.

One way to protect against this type of scam is to check that the agent is a member of an approved redress scheme such as the Property Ombudsman. It is also worth doing a few simple internet checks to see how long the agent appears to have been operating, and visit their office, don't hand over any money at a property.

* There are perfectly legitimate agents with similar names to Red Bricks Estate. There is no suggestion whatever that any are involved in any way with this scam.

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