TV series starting tonight unveils ‘phoney agent’ in sub-letting scam

A new Channel 5 TV series is due to start tonight, called “Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords”.

The first of the six part series highlights a letting agent and who allegedly turned out to be a fraudster.

His rent-to-rent operation apparently left landlords badly out of pocket.

The fly-on-the-wall documentary follows council enforcement teams and eviction firm Landlord Action across Britain, as they deal with the grittier side of the UK’s buy-to-let industry, exposing problematic tenants and dishonest landlords. Also featured prominently is Ben Reeve Lewis, who is a director of Easy Law Training.

With 8m million people renting in the UK, the series is set to highlight some of the tactics used by both landlords and tenants. It will uncover horror stories of home-owners battling to take repossession of their homes from tenants who refuse to pay, and landlords exposed for the poor and unsanitary living conditions of their rental properties.

Tonight’s first 60 minute episode will delve into the world of sub-letting, following two separate cases which are said to have cost the landlords involved thousands.

One couple from London were scammed by “Jerome Baker” after signing an agreement with his rent-to-rent company, only to find out 24 hours later it was a hoax and there was no company.

Despite trying to back out of the agreement, “Baker” ignored their correspondence, broke into the property in the early hours of the morning to change the locks and subsequently sub-let it to several different tenants.  When the couple went to the police, they were told it was a civil matter.

Landlord Susan Bailey said “It was the most awful experience that consumed our lives.  He sent heavies round to warn us and broke into our property on more than one occasion, yet we were powerless to stop him.  We genuinely felt like we were going mad. How could we be ignored by the authorities when something so wrong was happening?

“I contacted everyone I could think of from Stella Creasy to Theresa May. Thank goodness we came across Paul Shamplina and Justin Selig of Landlord Action who helped us go to court with an injunction.  I dread to think what a state we would be in now without their help.”

Mr and Mrs Bailey are currently more than £16,000 out of pocket and have subsequently learnt Baker has operated under several false names in similar scams.

The second case features an elderly couple with a property in Hatfield. As soon as they let their property to their tenant Jecintha Rahman, she started to sub-let it. However, she was actually taking deposits and upfront rent from unsuspecting sub-tenants but never letting them move in.

Rahman managed to do this over and over again until the law eventually caught up with her and she was arrested and charged. She served four months on remand and was given a suspended sentence for theft and fraud.

Shamplina says “We’ve been in this business for 15 years and this series could run and run if it were to uncover all the unsavoury behaviour which occurs in the buy-to-let industry. Hopefully the cases highlighted in ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ will give a balanced view of the issues that can occur on both sides and remind landlords of the importance of thorough due diligence.”

The series will run for six weeks, every Wednesday on Channel 5 at 9pm.



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  1. Mark Walker

    I am genuinely pleased to hear that the police consider breaking into a property in the early hours of the morning and changing the locks as a civil matter.  I am off to terrorise the neighbourhood for the rest of the day.

  2. MF

    Hopefully the program will go some way toward educating landlords and tenants just how bad things can get when done by amateurs/the unscrupulous.

    (Maybe it will even give the likes of Shelter some clues as to why tenants are better off dealing with a professional agent – even if, like most professionals, they charge a fee for their services.)

  3. Homefinders Plus

    Am I going bonkers, I am fairly sure that I watched a recording of that programme last night and it seemed to be a different episode? It was more about evicting tenants (rightly or wrongly) but I don’t recall subletting being mentioned.


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