TV star and evictions expert Paul Shamplina has called for action to weed out rogue operators within the so-called rent-to-rent sector.
Shamplina, who is the founder of evictions firm Landlord Action, tells The Negotiator that he’s concerned that the pandemic has led to a surge in the number of dodgy operators in the market taking advantage of tenants desperate to find a property – particularly in London’s super-hot private rental market.
“Illegal sub-letting of properties by rent-to-rent companies as highlighted by several recent cases is becoming a growing problem within the private rented sector and is giving the reputable providers a bad name,” he says.
“They also make possession claims difficult because it’s often hard to work out who the landlord really is and, as in one recent case, tenants believe they have paid their rent on time but are facing eviction by the ‘superior landlord’ for non-payment of rent.”
Shamplina (pictured) is referring to the recent high-profile case of two tenants at a block of newbuild flats in Maida Vale who were told they faced being evicted for non-payment of rent even though they claimed to be up to date, having paid £20,000 in rent so far on time.
The problems created in this case, and many others like it, is that tenants are often unaware that they have rented a property through a rent-to-rent agreement or that their ‘middle-man’ can disappear without paying any rent to the property owners/landlord, leaving the tenants high and dry.
Criminal operators like this give the existing and legitimate ones including big chains such as Northwood and hundreds of lesser-known agencies, a bad name, as Shamplina is highlighting.
Reputable agents offer a property owner or buy-to-let landlord a commercial lease agreement to let the property from them, which is then sub-let to the tenant via an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.