Landlords - beware fraud

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A READER who recently rented out a property came unstuck in a big way.

She warns others in her position, as private landlords, that it is vital to check references and claims very carefully before handing over keys.

The lady tells us that a couple came to her with references which seemed satisfactory, and assured her they had no pets.

In fact, the couple had two dogs and did a moonlight flit, leaving the property in an appalling state. Our reader also believes the references were fake.

For legal reasons we are not able to print further details of the people involved.

The lady says it is vital to warn others in her position of the pitfalls of letting property.

She said: “There are many people who, because of the economic situation are letting property, which they would not have done before.

“They are putting themselves in a vulnerable position.”

The Review spoke to a couple of professional letting agents in town to find out if they have experienced similar difficulties.

One said that this is not a problem that they customarily experience, and suggested that people dipping their toes into the world of letting do so through a professional agent.

Another added that a reference is only as good as the paper it is written on, and sometimes checking references can be very difficult.

They also suggested that letting property is a minefield for beginners, and that professional help is worth the price.