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Landlords warned over sub-letting scams

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Buy-to-let landlords must guard against illegal sub-letting, which is increasingly taking place in rented properties.

London estate agent Patterson Bowe has warned that a growing number of landlords have been affected by these scams, something which could prove damaging to both landlord and tenant.

Sub-letting is when a tenant rents a flat out to somebody else, without the knowledge or consent of the landlord.

Landlords have been urged to carry out checks on their tenants to prevent rogue behaviour occurring.

Stuart Patterson, owner and managing director of Patterson Bowe, said that a lack of quality properties was causing underhand behaviour in the sector.

“An undersupply and increased demand in the current market has left room for certain tenants to bend the rules where they can,” he said.

“We have been contacted by both landlords and tenants looking for advice because they have fallen victim to these scams, particularly illegally sub-letting property throughout Prime Central London. Often these are short term tenants who are here from overseas and searching online for temporary accommodation without appropriate knowledge or advice.”

Allister Bowe added: “A quality Letting Agent will not only have an awareness of these kind of practices, but will also be able to provide sound advice to clients on how to avoid them. Our years of experience have taught us that relying on computerised reference checks alone is not enough to ensure the quality and reliability of tenants.

“Once we have conducted the usual online checks we also meet each tenant in person to retain in depth background information from them and build a detailed and reliable profile for our clients.”

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