A worrying new scam emerges
I was having lunch with a colleague from Trading Standards last week who told me of a worrying new scam she has seen a couple of times this year, where online letting agents target foreign students looking to come to the UK.
and it goes something along the lines of…
The deal is 6 month’s rent up front as is common with foreign visitors not covered by Experian. The landlords are happy to find nice, pleasant, middle-class French or Spanish students. The agent hands over the first month’s rent to the landlord and all are happy.
Then the agent’s don’t pass over the second month’s rent.
The landlord is a bit annoyed but with profuse apologies of an admin error the landlord backs off.
Because all has been set up decently, tenant got a welcome pack and everything the landlord believes the agent.
two months go by then three….
….before the landlord smells a rat by which time the agent, who has been freely trading for months by now, does a bunk with 5 months rent in their back pocket.
You only have to run 5 or 6 properties under this model to make a tidy little earner.
And it seems that there are other fraudsters out there looking to rip off the unwary home seller or buyer, as explained in this piece from Property Reporter:-
A Midlands based law firm warned of a scam whereby the fraudsters clone the identities of the owner and sell the property out from under them and that it is particularly prevalent during the summer selling boom.
The way to avoid it?
Arrange a restriction on the right to title with the land registry where identities have to be verified before sales can go through.
The article points out that those most at risk are people who rent out property or whose property is vacant but it doesn’t say why.
I recall a couple of years back…
Where fraudsters were getting wind that a property was unoccupied, stuck a for sale sign in the garden with a phone number to see if anyone contacted them to complain that it was their house. After a few weeks with no complaints, they used a dodgy solicitor in Peckham (my neck of the woods) and a bent staff member at Land Registry.
They all got caught and they’re all in nick but not without creating a lot of heartache first, as several of the true owners were in care homes.
That’s what happens when there is so much money to be made from property. The bad boys will move in.
but what happens when the bad boys won’t move out?
This article from the Telegraph looks at how much parents should charge their grown up kids to stay at home:-
Another social phenomenon that we see a lot of with rents and mortgage deposits so far out of reach for many. Known as K.I.P.P.E.R.S, short for Kids In Parents Pockets Eroding Retirement Schemes.
We see that Megan, a Pilates teacher in Wembley pays her mum £100 a week, a pathetic amount and yet Megan’s mum still feels the need to apologise for charging her anything at all when she says:
“The reason we charge rent is because of the expenses. Food, toiletries and bills are costly, and if we don’t charge her and she goes out into the real world it could be harder for her. It’s important to pay your way and know how much things cost. A lot of young people don’t realise, you go and buy dinner and a week’s shopping and it can cost £200.”
You can sense the hand wringing anguish in that statement but despite the justification I doubt that paying £100 all in is doing much for Megan’s financial education.
Those were the days…
I remember when I got my first job I had to give my mum 50% of my take home, which is why I quickly moved into a squat in Deptford.
That’s the answer I think. Forget the bank of mum and dad get into squatting in a big way. Not residential, it’s criminal you know, but empty commercial, that’s the ticket. You can then save 100% of your housing costs towards a deposit.
I quite enjoyed it apart from the fact that the London Hell’s Angels used the squat as a flop house and unofficial dealing den, so a romantic night in with the lady of my choice was often not as relaxed as it could have been, ’ Big Maggot’ not being the kind of gentleman to make a discreet exit when asked.
(And I wasn’t being entirely flippant there either) I have several friends with grown up kids who don’t charge them a penny.
Had I have suggested this when I was 16 I wouldn’t have finished the sentence without getting slapped up the back of the head by my dad, followed by a lecture on his personal finances and starving children in Africa.
My favourite mad story of the week
This comes from The Mail about a Canadian Landlord fined $12,000 for failing to take his shoes off in the home if his Muslim tenant whilst conducting viewings with prospective replacements.
Landlord John Alabi complained that the tenants also made
“Other unreasonable demands”.
Since when did being asked to take off your shoes become an unreasonable demand?
My guitar tutor, a Polish guy, has a light beige carpet and not unreasonably asks visitors to remove their shoes to keep it clean. Maybe I should sue him for my failure to adequately learn the Myxolidian mode when blues soloing as a result of the stress of going shoeless.
I have to say I don’t think Mr Alabi was not at fault here but $12,000 worth of fault?
There is more to the article if you choose to read it. Personally, I gave up half way down and made a cup of tea.
What made smile this week
Reading Eric Ambler’s 1958 novel a ‘Passage of Arms’:-
He is old fashioned and often out of print but I love his stuff and as the wheel of life turns his insights into pre-world war 2 European life, now the cold war is over becomes scarily prescient again, his common themes throughout his novels from the mid 1930s being of uncontrolled corporate business dealings, people trafficking, human slavery, unease in the Balkans and dodgy arms dealing.
See ya in a fortnight