Always use agents, says tenant scammed by fake landlord

Tenants who found a property on Gumtree and were scammed by a fake landlord have warned others to use agents.

Sam Burton and her partner found the property a year ago, signed a tenancy agreement and handed over a £1,195 deposit.

This was despite their disquiet over the landlord’s behaviour and the fact that there were CCTV cameras in each room.

Two days before the couple and their three children were due to move in to the Hertfordshire property, the landlord cancelled the agreement.

The couple were told their money was in a deposit scheme and would be returned. After a year, this has still not happened.

When the couple looked on Gumtree again, they found the same man advertising the same house.

Miss Burton has since found out that another family were conned out of £2,000 by the same man, and that it seems he does not own the property.

Miss Burton has been told by police that it is a civil matter and that she should report it to Action Fraud.

She said: “It seems he can’t be stopped or checked.

“I’ve always rented through estate agents before but I knew people who had done it privately and it worked out well. I will always use estate agents in future.”

It seems to us the case also raises ongoing concerns that theft and fraud so often seem to be regarded as civil matters by police and nothing to do with them.

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  1. Will

    And there you go I always thought fraud was a crime.  The police always push out the nonsense and lies that something is a civil matter to avoid their responsibility to prevent and investigate crime. As for Action Fraud there is no action from them when there is Fraud!!!!!

  2. Mark Connelly

    Interesting that the previous article was about rip off agents fees and this is one advocating always using an agent.

    Do you think that they meant enjoy the best of both worlds? Always use an agent to protect yourself but ideally use one that is free.

  3. IHS

    In order for there to be a criminal offence of fraud

    The defendant must have been dishonest, and have intended to make a gain or to cause a loss to another.
    In addition, the defendant must carry out one of these acts:

    Making a false or misleading representation.

    Failing to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose.

    Abusing a position of trust.

    Surely all the above apply in this case?

  4. pierce

    I think the victims may have misquoted the Police, fraud remains a criminal offence, so it is not a civil matter and action fraud collate the reports to gain a pattern. They then do what is called “A Call To Service” where the local force are asked to investigate.

    But let me tell you this, putting everything else aside the Police will be very reluctant to get involved because they won’t know what they are dealing with when it comes to lettign properties, unless the officer dealing is a landlord!


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