Stolen deposit total approaching £1m as 2017 comes to an end
Published on 21 Dec 2017

Crooked landlords and letting agents have raided close to £1,000,000 from tenancy deposit accounts in 2017 – new figures show.

Renting reform campaigner and KIS lettings boss Ajay Jagota keeps a running total of the cash value of deposits criminal letting agents have been convicted of stealing, which he publishes on a quarterly basis.

By the end of the final quarter of 2017 overall thefts totalled £926,037 – an average theft of £38,585 per conviction.

25 landlord and letting agents have been convicted of stealing amounts ranging from £130,000 to £595 throughout the year – more than two every month.

The most recent conviction saw 32-year-old James Bennett – who has been described as a “serial conman” – sentenced to six years in prison after duping at least 17 victims looking for a South London room to rent out of an estimated £10,000.

Ajay Jagota is also founder of Dlighted, who provide a deposit free renting alternative to a tenancy deposit scheme such as mydeposits, the Tenancy Deposit Service and the Deposit Protection scheme.

Dlighted’s low cost deposit replacement insurance lowers the cost of renting for tenants while giving landlords the peace of mind of £500,000 of protection against property damage, £75,000 of cover for unpaid rent, and £50,000 of legal protection.

Deposit-free renting with Dlighted has also been cited by 85% renters as their reason for choosing a particular letting agency.

Ajay said:

“In 2016 crooked landlords and agents were convicted of stealing £1m of deposits. Twelve months on nothing has changed. At the end of 2018 we’ll probably be here again. It doesn’t have to be like this.

“As far as I am concerned the misuse of deposits is endemic in our industry, and all too often this misappropriation crosses over into outright illegality.  Putting up with a system which allows this is simply crazy.

“Tenants want cheaper renting, and deposit free renting delivers it, while protecting landlords better against rent arrears, legal costs and property damage, and reducing void periods. For letting agents it cuts costs and admin and brings customers to their door. Everyone wins.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Zero deposit means zero risk. Zero risk of remt arrears thanks to our rent guarantee. Zero risk of deposits not covering the cost of property damage due to the £500,000 of cover our deposit replacement insurance offers. And zero risk of criminals making off with tenant’s cash”.

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