An agent has warned that property firms in his area are being approached by applicants claiming to represent blue-chip employers and looking for long-term company lets.
In fact, they are recruitment firms recruiting their own temps to work for the likes of warehouse operators.
James Peake, of Milton Keynes agency Morgans Property, said that in all cases, the recruiters are new companies.
He cited two instances where landlord customers of other agents have had their properties trashed, lost months of rent, and had an uphill battle to regain possession.
He said: “We first became aware of this situation in January when we started getting approaches, which have been building up since.
“In a ten-day period in July, we had six different enquiries.
“All asked about company lets on flats for an initial 12 months, and requesting viewings for their representatives.”
He said: “It sounds good, especially to a young member of staff on commission.
“The reality is that all six of these enquiries were from recruitment agents.
“Although names likes Mercedes, Network Rail, Nissan and MK Hospital Doctors – all big local employers – were used in the chats, the actual occupiers were going to be warehouse staff on temporary contracts.”
He said that in another case the recruitment firm claimed to be looking for accommodation for doctors relocating to Milton Keynes.
“However, I discovered they were actually recruiting for temporary porters and cleaners.”
He said that because the lets would involve temps, there would be many changes of tenants, leading to a probable increase in general wear and tear.
He also said there was some evidence that the recruitment firms would take on a complete property under one contract, but then sub-let each room individually to make a profit on the deal.
He said: “We have just taken on two properties for landlords who have had their flats wrecked.
“The so-called companies paid three months rent, yet stayed for six and nine months respectively.
“Both landlords used corporate agents and had very similar stories of zero inspections and no legal chase assistance.
“Both landlords felt that the members of staff involved seemed very out of their depth with the situation.”
He added: “This is not bashing corporate agents, but they do turn over staff more frequently than their independent counterparts.”
There are also warnings about rent to rent here: