Court or property ombudsman?

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Disgruntled of the midlands
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My tenant was found through a letting agent a year ago. They supposedly reference checked him and told me all was OK. Employed tenant, earning 24000, credit check fine. The tenant has done a runner abandoning the property and now owing me 2400 or 3000 in rent (depending when you consider I repossessed the property).

I have discovered that the agents referencing check came back as recommending a guarantor as they had no proof of his income, previous addresses or even finding him on the electoral register. They didn't tell me this. I also have since discovered from letters I found when I repossessed the house that this tenant had previously had serious rent arrears from the council (and suspect but have no proof that he was evicted) at a different address from the one he gave. The same letter also talked about overpaid housing benefit - so I strongly suspect that for the whole time has been claiming housing benefit and not passing it to me. I specifically said no benefits tenants to the letting agent. The agents took no ID from him or proof of previous addresses, employer reference or previous landlord reference.

I haven't a hope of getting any money back from the tenant - there were bailiffs letters (council tax), numerous debt collector letters and a notice for repossession of his car for which he had an HP agreement of 28000 (pretty good going for a chap on only 24000 a year!). I strongly feel that the letting agents haven't done their job in my opinion. I may have a case against them.

I guess my choices are the courts or the property ombudsman. Any experiences of either route or other suggestions?

08/10/2010 00:00

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