Timothy Carter, who rents out 13 homes in Barking, east London, and Epping, Essex, used Upad – bought earlier this year by former rival Howsy, which kept the Upad name – to find tenants and take deposits for his property management business, but lost £975 because the deposit for one of his tenants had been unprotected when it went into administration at the end of last year.
Carter had a certificate from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) in November 2017 assuring him that his new tenants’ £975 deposit had been insured. When the insurance lapsed in February last year and Upad mistakenly told TDS that the tenancy had ended, he wasn’t warned that the money was now unprotected.
Upad transferred £4.3 million in deposits to the TDS in September last year, according to Richard Long & Co, an insolvency company that’s dealing with Upad’s administration. Tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of deposits were never transferred, leaving at least seven landlords — including Carter — out of pocket.
When his tenants moved out of the one-bedroom flat in April and asked for their deposit back, he had to pay up. The deposits for seven of his other properties were successfully transferred to the TDS and other schemes by Upad before it changed ownership. After being contacted by The Times newspaper, the TDS refunded his deposit.
Howsy founder and CEO, Calum Brannan (above), tells The Negotiator that while the Upad name still exists, the former Upad limited business does not exist as it was wound up by the courts prior to Howsy’s purchase.
He adds: “Since Howsy has taken over the brand and customer database, all of Upad’s present deposits are held by the custodial scheme and Howsy has strict processes and procedures overseen by our CFO to ensure this.”