Interesting new data has revealed that rogue letting agents were convicted of stealing nearly £700,000 worth of tenancy deposits during the opening half of 2017.
The average total for each theft totalled nearly an eye-watering £50,000, according to renting reformer, Ajay Jagota.
Mr Jagota keeps a running total of the overall cash value of deposits that rogue letting agents have been found guilty of stealing. Jagota publishes these figures on a quarterly basis.
At the end of June 2017, overall thefts for 2017 amounted to £673, 273, with an average theft of £48,091 per conviction.
Now, subsequent convictions have taken this overall total close to £750,000.
15 rogue agents have been convicted of offences surrounding the theft of deposits during 2017, at nearly two per month.
Research from deposit-free renting solution Dlighted last year indicates that £1,018,100 worth of deposits were stolen during 2016. Worryingly, 2017’s figures are set to break past this figure.
Ajay Jagota, founder of Dlighted, said: ‘Some are arguing that no reform of the deposit system is necessary. But in the current system agents have managed thefts of at least £700,000 in just six months.’
‘Within the next four years, almost £6billion will be held in tenancy deposit schemes, roughly £4billon of which will retained by letting agents and landlords. Not only is this money missing from the UK economy, it is far too easy for it to go missing altogether.’
Offering a solution, Mr Jagota noted: ‘It’s simple – if renting is deposit free, it isn’t possible for people to steal deposits. Not only does deposit replacement insurance better protect property investor’s assets and offer them compensation for legal fees and lost rent – as well as making it easier to find and keep good tenants – it also prevents crime.’
‘The worst part is the almost £2million which landlords and letting agents have been convicted of stealing, is in my opinion and many of those in the industry, nowhere near the true scale of money misappropriated from tenancy deposit accounts with an alarming number of operators apparently happy to use money from tenancy accounts for other business purposes.
Much of this money will be put back, but much of it won’t – and the fact money is missing will only ever be uncovered in the event of company collapse or criminal investigation. The legislation the government will be bringing forward to cap deposits is also the ideal opportunity to do something about this scandalous situation,’ he concluded.