Property Fraud: hints and tips on how to protect yourself

As you are probably aware property fraud is increasing.

In December 2015, the Daily Mail featured an article written by Mr Hastings in which is describes how his wife’s house has been “sold” from beneath her to an unwitting purchaser.

Mr Hasting’s wife, Penny has been letting a property via an agency.  Her previous tenants had moved out in June 2015 and the agents told her they had found a replacement.  His name was Kevin Hafter, though this appears was a stolen identity.

The agents said that his reference, provided through a credit referencing agency, were deemed as acceptable.  He declared an annual income of £110K, paid the deposit and collected keys at the end of the month.

As soon as “Mr Hafter” took possession of the property it was apparently placed on the marked with the estate agents, Foxtons of Fulham Broadway.  “Mr Hafter” claimed to be acting on behalf of the owner – Penelope Hastings – who he said lived in Chicago.

Mr and Mrs Hastings learned that a women from Catford in London, had changed her name to “Penelope Hastings” by deed poll, and had obtained a passport declaring her to be Penelope Hastings.  However it appears that just a photocopy of the document has been sufficient to sell the property.

After a price had been quickly agreed with a keen purchaser a firm of licensed conveyancers acted for the alleged seller, and the full asking price of £1.35 million was handed over.

The good news for Mrs Hastings was that the Land registry, suspicious that something was amiss, declined to register the sale, so she was still the owner.  Unfortunately, for the would be purchaser though, the money disappeared without a trace.

Free service available for property owners and landlords

In order to try and prevent property fraud, the Land Registry has a free service which owners of properties can sign up on line, free of charge, up to 10 properties to have alerts sent to a registered email address, when anything happens with their property at the land registry.

We strongly recommend that all property owners sign up to this free land registry service for all the properties which you own so that you can receive alerts from the land registry.   We cannot guarantee that fraud can be prevented by using this service but it is one step further to try and prevent fraud especially on buy to let properties.

The link to go on to sign up on


Other forms of help available to property owners

Also Countywide Legal Indemnities are now offering an indemnity policies for purchasers and lenders starting from £70.00 which covers homebuyers and lenders against losses arising from property fraud.

Please all be extra diligent about your buy to let properties.

Landlords: Need help with rent debt collection?

Renting property is a business, so it comes owning property comes with its own risks. One of the most common risks is tenants not paying rent therefore rent arrears or rent debt increasing.

Do you need help with rent arrears recovery? Are you looking for a rent debt collection agency?

Tenant Debt Recovery Agents is expert in recovering rent arrears and can help with all property matters.

Contact us to see how we could help get your rent back on track and into your bank account!

Who is Sutherland & Co

Sutherland & Co Law Limited are a firm of Solicitors formed in 2016 by Caroline Sutherland and Mark Appleyard who are Lawyers, and bring together over 50 years’ experience between them in the legal sector.  Both have worked for established city law firms and have brought their wealth of knowledge and experience together to provide unique legal services to the public and businesses.

Sutherland & Co are a friendly, modern and approachable law firm specialising in various areas of law.  They understand the need for providing “jargon free” legal advice, a personal service and an understanding approach with competitive legal fees.

Sutherland & Co believe that clients should always be their main priority to help them achieve their goals, no matter what they are.

Author: Caroline Sutherland, Solicitor @Sutherland & Co Law Limited

5 reasons to use a good rent debt collection agency

Rent arrears recovery has become increasingly difficult in the last few years and the trend does not seem to stop anytime soon.
New rules and regulations are coming to force all the time to ensure tenants are treated fairly and the rules for property safety and tenancy agreements tighten.
Thus, landlords find it more and more difficult to recover rent debt by themselves and therefore they are at risk of spending valuable time and money without getting the desired result: the collection of the rent debt.
A good rent debt collection agency can save a lot of time and more importantly money when dealing with tenants not paying rent.
The below guide provides 5 simple reasons to use a good rent recovery agency.

1. Ensure proper documentation is in place

Without the proper documentation in place (such as a sound tenancy agreement, with all the required details in, the protection of the deposit – if any -, existence of a guarantor, so on), landlords would just waste their time and money chasing missing rent.
The current legislation is very clear and no court would give a decision in the favour of the landlord if proper documentation is not in place.

2. Do it by the book

A good rent debt collection would know all the rules and regulations that a landlord looking to recover rent debt must follow so the rent debt has the highest possible chance to be recovered.
One simple mistake can cost a landlord weeks in chasing rent debt collection (as well as money, of course) with no result.
Landlords chasing tenants for rent recovery must make sure that everything in the process is done by the book.

3. Serve section 8 and Section 21 correctly

Sometimes the rent arrears are so big that the landlord decides to repossess the property. Once again, if the rules are not followed in their spirit and their letter, there is a high risk of tenant eviction being ruled against in a court of law.
Just one example: there is a minimum period of rent arrears required by law (period calculation differs depending on how the tenancy agreement is set) in order to be able to serve Section 8. If the period is incomplete, even if by just one day, the judge may very well make the decision against the landlord’s desired outcome.
There are also rules for serving the notice and how the number of days are calculated. If in doubt, check with a solicitor or with an agency specialised in rent debt collection.

4. Guide throughout the process

Rent debt collection can be a drain on anyone’s resources and energy, especially for someone not familiar with the process.
A good rent arrears recovery agency will always guide you through the jungle of rent debt recovery process and will provide you with the most efficient way of moving forward.
Most importantly, a good rent debt collection agency will always tell you in advance if there is little chance of recovering your rent debt, so you do not waste time and more importantly, more money in a process with little chance of success.

5. Save money by using right procedure at the right time

Different stages of rent debt require different approaches. Sometimes a simple call or letter may resolve the situation.
Unattended however, the tenants not paying rent will continue to do the same, which is not paying rent and situation can very soon get out of control.
Rent debt collection does not need to be expensive. Used wisely, the results are extremely positive and rent arrears are collected in full.
Thus, using a rent debt collection agency can save landlords time and money.

Rent debt collection: Rent Recovery at Its Best

TDR (Tenant Debt Recovery) is providing rent debt collection services, as well as property repossession through serving Section 21 and Section 8 notices.

TDR is working with the landlord’s point of view in mind at all times and it provides guidance throughout the whole process in a manner that is expected by all landlords.
The focus of our rent debt collection process is speed and accuracy, focused on the main result: collecting the rent arrears, repossessing the property and ultimately, giving the landlord peace of mind.

If you are a landlord dealing with rent debt and tenants not paying rent and if you are looking for a good and efficient rent debt collection agency, why not give us a call or contact us on

5 essentials of top-class help with rent arrears recovery

When the tenant missed a full or part payment, the rent arrears can quickly build up. Then landlord is put in a situation where it is most of the time very difficult to get back on track.

Recovering rent arrears from tenants may prove difficult if landlord has little or no experience with rent debt collection, therefore some help with rent arrears may prove handy.

Then how a landlord would know where to go to get help with rent arrears recovery?

Below are listed 5 essential factors in deciding the best help in recovering rent arrears.


Experience in rent arrears recovery

Check the experience of the rent debt collector. Experience in the field is essential for the success of the rent recovery process.

Collecting rent arrears is a lot more difficult than just commercial debt collection. Dealing with tenants involves a certain degree of empathy to ensure the success of the rent debt collection.

Most businesses and agencies conducting rent arrears recovery provide an impersonal service, conducted mostly by people with very little experience in recovering rent arrears from tenants.


Balanced approach on rent arrears recovery

When in rent arrears, one of the first thing landlords tend to think is to evict their tenant, by serving either Section 8 or Section 21 notice.

Rent arrears eviction should be seen as a last resort, mainly due to the fact that when taking the path of tenant eviction, landlord’s costs are going to increase dramatically. This is due to not only the high risk of not being able to collect the rent but also due to the void period between tenancies and the costs incurred to get the property into a condition to be re-let.

Therefore a balanced approach to the rent arrears recovery process is vital to save money for landlord.

Most of the time, working with the tenant to get a payment plan in place or sending a rent arrears letter from the solicitor can help solve the issue. Moreover, these 2 steps are among the most inexpensive steps possible, so not try these steps before anything else more expensive. There is a good chance you will save money while resolving your problem.


Know the legalities but have a sound rent arrears recovery procedure

When dealing with rent arrears is important to know the legalities in force so not to be in any breach of the law. Do not forget that tenants have rights and if things get to court, landlord will lose not only the money but also any right to recover the deposit.

Therefore, during the entire process to recovering rent arrears, respecting the spirit and the letter of the law is paramount.

When using an external party to help with collection of the rent debt, do make sure they know the legalities and they will protect your interests at all times.

Transparent, simple process

If you decide to use a third party for rent arrears recovery, look for someone with a simple process, transparent and easy to understand. It is very easy to fall into the trap of an agency that uses complicated terminology simply to enable them to charge higher than necessary prices.

A simple process is always easy to understand and it gives you, the landlord or the letting agent, the peace of mind that the third party knows what it does.


Speedy and effective

Getting things going in a rent arrears recovery situation should not take long. Ask how much it takes to get the rent recovery letter out or to start the legal proceeding, or simply to get in touch with the tenant.

Ask if you will be kept informed all throughout the process with the status of the recovery process. Find out how you will be kept informed. Identify the costs and ensure that there are no hidden costs.


TDR – the perfect solution for rent arrears recovery

At TDR – Tenant Debt Recovery Agents we know very well the frustration you have when dealing with rent arrears.

Therefore we have designed a simple, easy and transparent process to deal with everything we need to do to recover your rent arrears.

Our process is designed in 5 steps, where you can choose the right step for you.

Unsure which step is the right step for you? Give us a call and we can help making the right choice for you.

Our system is also designed to obtain all the required information during the ordering process, so once you ordered your required level of service, we also receive electronically the information we need to get it started.

Our 5 step rent arrears recovery process and procedure consists of:

Do you have any tenant rent arrears? Do you need help recovering rent arrears?

It may not be as expensive as you think and, put in balance, you have an excellent chance to recover your rent arrears.

Why not giving us a call to discuss your options or email


Landlords: Get an action plan in place to recover your rent arrears

Tenant rent arrears have been established as one of the fastest growing UK problems recently.

Consequently, rent arrears recovery has become one of the most important areas for the landlords – whether accidental or professional ones. Recovering rent arrears is not an easy thing to do, especially that tenants fall behind paying rent for various reasons:

  • Tenants have lost their job
  • Tenants had to take a cut in their wages
  • Things are more expensive nowadays and therefore rent is less affordable
  • Maybe one of the joint tenants has moved out and therefore staying tenant cannot afford paying full rent at the moment.

Do You Have a Plan for Rent Arrears Recovery?

Most often, when tenants miss a payment, partial or full, the landlords do not know what to do. Therefore things can go adrift from here.

The easiest way to deal with rent arrears is to deal with it straight from the start. Do make the tenants aware of the situation and make them aware of the risk – which can go up to them losing their home.

When in debt situation, tenants will always pay the creditor who shouts the loudest. If you make them aware of the risks involved as soon as they missed a payment, you have the highest chance of collecting the rent.

If they still don’t pay, then a good plan can save you time and money.


Do you need help recovering rent arrears?

As soon as tenants go into rent arrears, the landlords are thinking of repossessing the property, usually by serving Section 21 or Section 8 notices. However that is not always the best and the most cost effective option.

In our experience, sometimes is best to try to collect the money – and this is where Tenant Debt Recovery Agents excels. In our experience, many times the situation is resolved by putting a payment plan in place to recover tenant rent arrears.

Keep in mind that times are difficult for many people and therefore most people are actually appreciate your help to get back in line with their rent payments. If you can get a payment plan in place to recover your rent arrears, then you will get a more stable tenant and you will avoid unnecessary costs incurred with tenant eviction, property being empty, re-marketing the property, so on.

As a landlord, you will always be better off if you can get a payment plan in place for your tenant’s rent arrears.


How we can help you with rent arrears recovery

At TDR we will help you avoid unnecessary costs. Instead of using expensive professionals we can guide you through a simple process where you can decide what you need to do. Our processes and services are very simple and they can be selected one by one. You do not need to take the full package of services if you do not need to.

Depending on your exact situation we will advise you on the most cost effective method to recover your tenant rent arrears and provide you with a sound plan of action.

Our steps are very easy to follow:

  1. Work with a tenant to put a payment plan in place to recover your rent arrears. Depending on the amounts involved, the payment plan can be shorter or longer.
  2. Should that fail, or if you already tried that and want to go straight to Step 2, our solicitors will send the tenant up to 2 rent arrears letters. Our letters, sent as landlord letter to tenant, are very effective and they work most of the time.
  3. Should the tenant not be responsive to the steps above, we recommend then going straight to serving Section 21 and Section 8 notices. We recommend going with both serving Section 21 notice as well as Section 8 as it significantly increase your chances of property repossession.
  4. If the tenant has not vacated the property following serving the notices of repossession, we can help you with proper repossession of your property. We can also help you if you served proper Section 21 or Section 8 yourself, not necessarily through ourselves. Our solicitors are very experienced in getting the court eviction process started and obtaining the best results.
  5. Upon property repossession you may decide that you still want to pursue your (former) tenant to recover your rent debt. We start the process swiftly and we use High Court enforcement officers to get swift results.

Advantages of using TDR for rent arrears recovery

  • Speed of service
  • Proven track record of obtaining results
  • Providing advice on best course of action
  • Quick and easy way of ordering services, therefore reducing your costs at a minimum
  • All other fees are included, no extra costs for the service selected
  • Clear and transparent pricing

Should you have any further questions, please contact us on

Landlords Beware: Recent changes affecting Section 21 procedure – The Deregulation Act 2015

Whether or not there are tenant arrears, the landlord may need to take necessary steps to regain possession of the property. Therefore landlords must be constantly on top of the forever changing legislation with regards to buy-to-let market: from tenant ID checks to deposits protection and ending with property repossession.

As the rules and regulations on the buy to let market are constantly changing unaware landlords are finding it more and more difficult to repossess their property, especially because of missing essential items at the beginning and during the tenancy. This article is looking to shed some light over The Deregulation Act 2015 and how it affects landlords and property owners on the residential property market.

The Deregulation Act 2015 has brought in some significant changes which significantly restricts the way in which landlords can serve a section 21 notice. The Act applies to all AST’s (i.e. Assured Shorthold Tenancy) granted on or after 1 October 2015 in England only, although it is important to be aware that from 1 October 2018 the new rules will apply to any AST regardless of when it was created (apart from the requirement mentioned below at number 6 relating to the information guide booklet). The Act restricts the way in which landlords can serve a section 21 notice.

The changes that affect landlords wishing to repossess their property by serving a Section 21 notice are as follows:

1. A prescribed form of section 21 notice must be used, this is known as a Form 6a and can be found, along with guidance notes on the website. Form 6a cannot be served within the first four months of a tenancy and is only valid for 6 months following the date of issue.

2. A Landlord is no longer required to state the last day of a period of the tenancy as the date on which the tenancy comes to an end in a section 21(4) notice.

3. A section 21 notice may not be given to a tenant where a landlord is not compliant with any law relating to:

a.  The condition of the property or common parts;

b. The health and safety of tenants in the property, this may include for example obligations relating to gas safety certificates; or

c. energy performance, such as compliance with an obligations relating to energy performance certificates.

4. If the tenant raises a legitimate complaint regarding the condition of the property with the landlord which remains unresolved, a tenant can contact the local housing authority who may serve a notice on the landlord, requesting that the matter be remedied. If the local housing authority serve a notice on the landlord, any section 21 notice served by the landlord following the complaint from the tenant, will be invalidated and the landlord will be unable to evict the tenant for 6 months using the section 21 procedure. This penalty may be avoided where the landlord responds to the tenant’s complaint and remedies the issue by carrying out relevant repairs.

5. Where a section 21 notice has been served the tenant may be entitled to a rent rebate for rent paid in advance where the tenant has vacated the property.

6. A landlord must give to the tenant a document entitled, ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Best practice would be to issue to guide upon creating the tenancy, otherwise as soon as practicably possible. The document may be given as a hard copy, or if the tenant has notified the landlord that he or she is willing to accept service of documents relating to the tenancy via email, then the document may be sent via e-mail.

Property repossession legislation is becoming increasingly complex each year; TDR aims to assist landlords both effectively and efficiently, by looking at each case individually and assessing how we can best help landlords and property owners. Dependent upon their particular situation TDR aims to provide an outstanding and tailored level of service.

If you have any questions relating to the changes brought into effect by the Deregulation Act 2015, or anything else you require assistance with, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via email and a member of our team will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Evicting a tenant using the Section 21 procedure: Traps for the unwary landlord

Rent arrears recovery is not the only issue buy-to-let property owners encounter during their normal activity. Most often than not, rent arrears come associated with property issues where tenants disrespect the property they are in and therefore, in order to save time and money in the long run, landlords have to repossess the property.
Obtaining repossession of the property can happen by terminating an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) or a periodic tenancy.
This article will highlight the practical conditions a landlord should meet when using the section 21 procedure.

When faced with the prospect of terminating an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), either in anticipation of the expiry of the fixed term, or after the fixed term has expired, most landlords will choose to use the section 21 procedure simply because no element of tenant default is required.
If used correctly the section 21 procedure will help avoid unnecessary issues or delays when regaining possession of a property.
Obtaining Possession

The accelerated possession procedure is generally a cost effective and efficient way of regaining possession of a property and can be used by a landlord where:
The only purpose of the claim is to recover possession (the accelerated possession procedure is not suitable for use when a landlord is claiming rent arrears from a tenant);
The landlord and tenant have entered into a written tenancy agreement;
The requisite 2 months’ notice has been given correctly; and
All the required practical steps, including those discussed in this article have been complied with, such as protecting the tenant’s deposit if one has been provided.
The advantage of using the accelerated possession procedure is that a court hearing is not usually required and the court can order possession to be given within 14 days, unless this would cause exceptional hardship, which can increase the 14 day period up to 42 days.
A court will make an order for possession of a property either on or after the end of a fixed term AST, where a landlord has given a tenant at least two months’ notice in writing and the AST has ended, this means no tenancy other than a periodic tenancy must exist.

The following steps must also have been taken by the landlord:
If a deposit is paid by the tenant to the landlord then that deposit must be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. There are a number of Tenancy Deposit Schemes available, meaning that a landlord can choose the one that is most suitable for his or her interests The landlord is not entitled to serve a section 21 notice where the landlord has not protected the deposit correctly; and
The landlord may not serve a notice on a tenant living in a multiple occupation property which must be licenced by the local housing authority, unless the property has been licenced correctly.

While property repossession can be carried out by individual landlords and agents, the slightest error or missed step in the process can add significant delay, leading to landlord losing time and money on his property investment.

At TDR we aim to:
1. Provide up to date information to help landlords when things are not going as they should in their property to let; and
2. Effectively help landlords recover tenant rent arrears and repossess the property if needed, in a very transparent and clear way. Please visit the other sections of the website for more details on how we can help or contact us via our email at

Why did we start the Tenant Debt Recovery Agents?

Rent arrears recovery has become an increasing issue in the current economic climate, with more and more landlords chasing delayed rent payment. Sometimes, it may be a simple delay, depending on current circumstances of the tenant. Most often however, these slight delays can turn into non-payments and not before long, landlords get into large rent arrears, in amounts of thousands, if not even bigger.

Recovering rent arrears – a more common problem than you may think

Recovering rent arrears is not an easy process and many landlords are in distress during the process of rent arrears recovery. According with the latest government and statistics, the Besides the financial strain rent arrears puts landlords in (due to mortgage payments, insurance, solicitors, so on), if not done right, the process of rent recovery can become very painful in a very short time.

The world of internet brings information at everyone fingertips. However most of the information available is rather confusing, conflicting and not easy to understand.

AT TDR we aim to bring light into the grey area of debt collection for landlords and we aim to work with landlords, letting agents and property managers to help them get rent payments back on track. We also aim to work with property owners and letting agents to recover possession of properties whenever necessary. aims to evolve to become a source of information for people looking for information on how to recover rent from tenants and related aspects of this matter.

If you or anyone you know is owning or managing one or more properties, feel free to mark this website as one of your main source of information relating to rent recovery

Team of TDR