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Written by rosalind renshaw

Rent dodgers in Merseyside are being shamed by their letting agents in a controversial move.

Merseyside-based Sutton Estates has put boards saying ‘Rent dodger lives here’ outside two of its properties.

Partner Neil Heffey said he was tired of being avoided by tenants who refused to pay their rent, but he would not be targeting cases of genuine hardship.

One sign has gone up in Birkenhead and the other in Liverpool. More signs are likely to be erected in an effort to make tenants pay up or move out, despite warnings that the signs could breach laws on confidentiality or defamation.

Heffey said: “There are people who take the rent paid to them by the Government and do not pass it on.

“It’s only a tiny minority of cases, but when they don’t pay their rent it is extremely harmful to the rest of the property business.”

Landlords who do not receive their rent risk having their credit history impaired, making it more difficult to raise funds or remortgage.

The Government has recently changed the rules for tenants on benefit. Instead of the benefit being paid to the landlord or agent, it is now paid directly to the tenant. Landlords protested that some tenants would spend the money on anything but rent, but the Government insisted that it would help vulnerable people learn how to manage their finances.


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    I agree with knowing about non-payers, we as letting agents should do like the pub watch do, let every agent know about bad tenants, rent dodgers, home wreckers, let the councils have them to rehouse!!!!

    • 12 December 2008 01:23 AM
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    Re 'brightmove's comments, it is not unknown for landlords to provide good references in order to rid themselves of bad tentants. Secondly, surely Rent Guarantee Schemes will not cover Housing Benefit cases?

    • 08 October 2008 05:05 AM
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    The best advice is obtain squeaky clean references, and insist that your landlord/lady takes out a good rent guarantee/legal expenses insurance - then there is no problem.

    • 08 October 2008 01:02 AM
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    We had a tenant who left a property surprisingly neat and tidy but owing just under £3000 in rent. He has been chased and when written to by the solicitors the first letter sent got no response he has returned the second and third ones sent marked adressee gone away. Get this the solicitor who is acting through one of the credit refrence agencies wants to close the file on this and leave my client out of pocket having paid the insurance fee. I like the idea of rent dodger boards and have used a similar tactic in a block of flats I manage where owners were not paying their service charges I sent a list to everyone in the block showing who owed what. That sorted them out! Rent dodger boards will no doubt have the same effect but I bet they get burnt down though. How about a free listing of bad payers that all estate agents can access at no cost to check out prospective tenants up front and add info and address changes and track these people down and in time they will get the message that we are not to be messed around with. Things are hard enough as it is without some members of society giving us more unpaid work to do.

    • 08 October 2008 12:38 PM
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    Brave idea, which I applaud. The scroungers of this country all too often get away with everything while we hard working, honest people are hit by the pettiest of taxes, fines etc. But will the tenants in question be bothered by the sign? Probably not. Those kind of people just have no shame.

    • 08 October 2008 12:23 PM
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    Why not join a TRULY FREE property portal such as PropertyFoyer.com? We did and are getting business from them. It is FREE to advertise and FREE to receive responses via phone or email directly from prospective buyers abnd tenants.

    • 08 October 2008 12:17 PM
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    What has Rightmove charges got to do with signs going up outside bad payers properties? Cracking idea by the way.

    • 08 October 2008 11:48 AM
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    I agree wholeheartedly and would welcome any combined action to force Rightmove to reduce prices.

    • 08 October 2008 11:24 AM
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    Good for you...we had a case where the Tenant took the money from the Council and spent it on a holiday rather than pay the rent. When the Council was made aware of this the response was "its their money which they are entitled to and they can do what they want with it!!!" i.e. they do NOT have to pay rent with it. NO one I spoke to at the Council or Local Government was at all surprised or interested in this case of clear abuse...If the system is broke..then fix it.

    • 08 October 2008 10:58 AM
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