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Tenants Conned by Illegal Sub-Let Scam


Illegal sub-letting is an increasingly popular scam in the current private rental market. With demand so high in many areas, tenants don’t always carry out checks to ensure the landlord is actually who they claim to be.

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There were two recent cases in the news of tenants who went on to illegally sub-let their flat, both of them in London. Royal Mail caught one of them out and the other is still on the run.

To Catch a Thief In the first case, the legal owners of a London flat let their property to a Canadian woman while they travelled to Africa to do voluntary work. Within two months, the tenant had stopped paying the rent and the owners started eviction proceedings. While this was underway, the scammer, claiming to be the owner, advertised the flat and conned two young would-be tenants into handing over a large deposit. She was caught out when the hopeful tenants posted a copy of the contract to the flat and Royal Mail redirected it to the real owners.

Caught on Camera In the second case, a tenant rented a flat in Islington and then posed as the landlord. Several would-be tenants then contacted him expressing interest in letting the flat. Unfortunately it all fell apart for them when they showed up on moving day, having handed over large deposits, to find out that there was no access to their new flat and no landlord. This scammer is still on the run, but police are hoping to identify him from CCTV footage.

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