Here is an interesting article written by Rosalind Renshaw on behalf of Property Industry Eye. This article gives you all the more reasons for using an ARLA qualified Letting agent like iConn Property Management. We are an affiliated agent with the relevant and essential ‘client money protection Insurance’ in place, providing our Landlords and Tenants peace of mind;

Landlords and tenants are feared to have lost thousands of pounds after the sudden closure of a property firm.

Sweet Property Services has shut down with a Notice of Forfeiture on the door saying that the landlord of the building in High Street, Rochester, Kent, has re-entered the premises.

As a consequence, says the notice, the lease has been forfeited and the premises secured. The firm is said to have entered liquidation, although details are unclear.

Landlords have told their local paper that rent has not been passed on, with concerns that tenants’ deposits may not have been protected.

A spokesperson with The Deposit Protection Service told Eye: “I can confirm that Sweet Property Service have never protected a deposit with The Deposit Protection Service.”

The Property Ombudsman confirmed to Eye it has received a number of complaints about the agency, run by Richard Sweet and which was more recently known as My Sweet Property.

A TPO spokesperson said: “The TPO has been informed that the agent has gone out of business and is in possession of the administrator details. It is assisting complainants in progressing their complaints.”

Had deposits been lodged with the Deposit Protection Service they would have been safe.

The spokesperson said: “Problems such as insolvency proceedings affecting letting agencies are relatively rare, but we of course sympathise with anyone experiencing complications.

“We can reassure both tenants and landlords that our custodial scheme offers the best protection against issues arising from insolvency proceedings. With the funds directly held by the DPS as an independent custodian, the deposit remains protected, notwithstanding such proceedings.

“Under both our insured and custodial schemes deposits remain protected and responsibility for these deposits can be transferred to the appropriate party.

“As a result, a tenant’s access to a deposit that he or she is entitled to at the end of a tenancy is unaffected.”

According to the local paper, one tenant said she had been trying to contact Mr Sweet and his daughter Courteney for over a month without success.

She said: “I, like other tenants, have been emailing these agents for confirmation that my deposit has been lodged with the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS) and to question why some of my rent has not been paid to my landlord and about the sudden name change.

“Every time I was answered with ‘everything is fine and the paperwork is in the post’.

“It now looks as though Sweet is offering a new online service and this needs to be looked into. Firms should not simply be able to set up shop again.”

Her landlord claims he is £5,000 out of pocket. David Newton said the property had been rented out because his father had dementia and had gone into care: he had needed to rent out the family home to pay for his care.

Mr Newton said: “I have been left distraught and am owed at least four months’ rent.”

Source: Property Industry Eye