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Nightmare tenants, slum landlords

Date online: 23/06/2015

On Wednesday 24th June 2015 at 9pm, Channel 5 will air the first episode of ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’, a six-part series following leading eviction specialists, Landlord Action, and council teams from across Britain, as they deal with the gritty side of the UK’s buy-to-let industry, exposing problematic tenants and dishonest landlords.

With 8 million people renting in the UK, the series is set to provide a shocking insight into some of the tactics used by both landlords and tenants. It will uncover horror stories of home-owners battling to take repossession of their homes from tenants who refuse to pay, and landlords exposed for the poor and unsanitary living conditions of their rental properties.

The first 60 minute episode will delve into the world of sub-letting, following two separate cases which have cost the landlords involved thousands.

Mr and Mrs Bailey from London were scammed by “Jerome Baker” after signing an agreement with his rent-to-rent company, only to find out 24 hours later it was a hoax and there was no company. Despite trying to back out of the agreement, Baker ignored their correspondence, broke into the property in the early hours of the morning to change the locks and subsequently sub-let it to several different tenants.  When the couple went to the police, they were told it was a civil matter.

Mrs Susan Bailey said: “It was the most awful experience that consumed our lives.  He sent heavies round to warn us and broke into our property on more than one occasion, yet we were powerless to stop him.  We genuinely felt like we were going mad. How could we be ignored by the authorities when something so wrong was happening? I contacted everyone I could think of from Stella Creasy and Jennette Arnold to Theresa May and the House of Lords. Thank goodness we came across Paul Shamplina and Justin Selig of Landlord Action who helped us go to court with an injunction.  I dread to think what a state we would be in now without their help.”

Mr & Mrs Bailey are currently more than £16,000 out of pocket and have subsequently learnt Mr Baker has operated under several false names in similar scams.

The second case features an elderly couple with a property in Hatfield. As soon as they let their property to their tenant Jecintha Rahman, she started to sub-let it. However, she was actually taking deposits and upfront rent from unsuspecting sub-tenants but never letting them move in. Jecintha managed to do this over and over again until the law eventually caught up with her and she was arrested and charged. She served four months on remand and was given a suspended sentence for theft and fraud.   

Mr Shamplina commented: “We’ve been in this business for 15 years and this series could run and run if it were to uncover all the unsavoury behaviour which occurs in the buy-to-let industry. Hopefully the cases highlighted in ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ will give a balanced view of the issues that can occur on both sides and remind landlords of the importance of thorough due diligence.”  

The series will run for six weeks, every Wednesday on Channel 5 at 9pm starting on 24th June 2015

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