Campaigning group Landlord Action has published an extraordinary warning about free-to-list advertising sites, suggesting that landlords should not to use them to find tenants because they are being targeted by rogue tenants.
The comments follow last night’s Channel 5 TV show Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords featuring Landlord Action founder Paul Shamplina.
In the episode aired last night at 9pm, Shamplina met London landlord Vicki McNaught who he says used a well-known free-to-list site to find a tenant for her property, although this is not mentioned in the episode.
She says she subsequently regretted it after the tenant stopped paying his rent soon after moving in.
Landlord Action says Vikki (pictured, left) listed her property with the site because it was a cheaper alternative to using a letting agent. She says that initially she was “delighted” to secure a professional tenant with a public-school background and a City job, and his girlfriend.
Vikki, who was owed more than £3,000 by her errant tenant, says that people like this are more likely to target free-to-list sites because they hope they will be subjected to fewer checks.
“In the future, we’d always go through an agent – although even this has no guarantee. It’s the law that needs to change to make landlords less vulnerable to unscrupulous tenants,” she says.
Paul Shamplina (pictured, right), who in the programme helps Vikki evict the pair, says he wants landlords to think twice about using free to list websites because “we’ve come across many similar cases in the past where we see serial bad tenants prey on less experienced landlords who let their properties on consumer websites.
“Unfortunately, the majority of these landlords are deceived by well-educated con artists. With absolutely nothing in place to safeguard landlords, they find themselves in all sorts of trouble.”