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Bristol letting agent caught up in sub-let HMO scam

Property rented out to one tenant had been subsequently sub-let illegally to eight tenants but has only now come to light following attempted evictions.

Nigel Lewis

letting agent

An ongoing disputed eviction in Bristol has led to a ‘fiery’ confrontation between a letting agent and tenants at the company’s offices, it has been revealed, after a sub-letting scam was uncovered.

Murrays Lettings based in the city’s Brislington neighbourhood has apologised over the attempted eviction of tenants from a property in the Redfield area (pictured) of Bristol which went ahead despite at least one of the tenants proving to bailiffs that they had paid rent.

The letting agency had attempted to evict the tenants but the failed after student Cyrus Coxswain revealed that he had used his mobile phone to pay rent.

Following this police halted the eviction and also intervened when local rental rights campaigners from Acorn confronted staff at Murray Letting’s branch.

The saga has highlighted the huge problems faced by letting agents when tenants illegally sub-let properties.

Sub-letting scam

It has transpired that Coxswain, who is a music production student in Bristol, had rented a room in the house after seeing an advert in a local shop, posted by what he assumed was the landlord.

But the advertiser was a tenant living at the terraced property, who appears to have turned it into an illegal sub-let HMO and had been renting out rooms within it. At one point, it has been claimed, eight people were living at the address.

The sub-letting tenant had been paying £750 to Murrays to rent the property while collecting £1,800 from his sub-letting operation.

Matters came to a head when the tenants reported the property to Bristol City Council, the case was highlighted by local media and both Murrays and the landlord realised what had been going on.

May 14, 2019

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