Here is a question to the blog clinic, which I am sure other landlords will be asking, from Jim who is a landlord:
I am a landlord using the Baxter Todd agents. They have suddenly closed, and we have now found they had not registered ANY deposits.
My tenants want to move on soon and want their deposit back. Which means I assume I will have to dig deep and give it to them. However:
1) When I called the police to report the fraud they said the tenant had to report it because it was technically their money, however I am the one that has lost the insurance!! The tenant did call & the police said it was a civil matter, and they were not interested.
2) What can I do about getting the money back from Baxter & Todd??
I am afraid you are right and you are responsible for paying the deposit to the tenants. So far as getting the police interested, they often have this reaction. However there has been a prosecution of a landlord in Leeds who kept students deposits unjustifiably on a regular basis. You can read about this >> here. Maybe if you show the police this, they will change their mind.
So far as getting anything back from the agents, I fear that your chances are very low. I don’t know anything personally about the Baxter Todd case other than that they have closed and landlords have suffered losses. You are entitled to go to court to get a CCJ for the money, but the trouble is always getting paid. Many county court judgments go unpaid.
It may be worth contacting other landlords in your area. Your local landlords association will probably know the situation and will be able to help and advise you.
I would also suggest you contact your local MP and ask what he or she is doing to ensure that letting agents are properly regulated so this sort of thing does not happen in future. The more landlords who contact their MPs demanding regulation of letting agents, the more likelihood there is that anything will be done about it.