Letting agency SDV HQ Ltd ordered to pay £167,000 fine for 'bait and switch' renting scam after council intervention.

2017-04-03-PHOTO-00000103

image of a room that was shown to a potential renter

Letting agency SDV HQ ltd were ordered to pay a £167,000 fine and compensation of £740 to a renter for a misleading room advertising scam after Tower Hamlets Council intervened.

 

The council’s trading standards team took the letting agency SDV to court after complaints that a resident was subject to a ‘bait and switch’ scam. This is where the prospective renter is lured to a premises by being shown a room that is in excellent condition at a good price. That room is then not available and the renter is offered a room of a lower  standard. This scam can affect those desperate for accommodation.

 

The council is committed to protecting tenants and enforcing against this kind of misleading illegal practice which is against the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

 

Following a guilty plea by SDV HQ Ltd the company was ordered to pay a £167,000 fine, costs of £8,089.06 and £740 compensation to Mr Justin Wright, the complainant. The company has three months to pay.

 

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “This is major victory for residents and for our trading standards team. It sends out a message that we can and will take the strongest action against letting agents who undertake this practice.”

 

Councillor Sirajul Islam, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Statutory Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “This case shows how seriously we take protecting tenants and the major legal ramifications of misleading potential tenants in this way. Housing is in such short supply that we must enforce against unscrupulous letting agencies.”   

 

 

 

 

Ends

 

For more information about this release contact the London Borough of Tower Hamlets communications team on 020 7364 4389 or email communications@towerhamlets.gov.uk

 

 

Notes to editors

 

Tower Hamlets is the fastest growing borough in London with finite land and space and huge pressure on housing generally. The council is committed to both expanding its council housing stock and delivering 2,000 council homes and protecting residents in the rented sector who can sometimes be liable to unscrupulous letting agencies and landlords.

 

The Tower Hamlets Private Renters' Charter sets out standards the law demands from all private landlords and agents. If a resident rents a room, a flat or a house in Tower Hamlets, the council and every organisation signed up to the charter aims to make sure that their landlord meets those standards. 

 

 

 

Posted on Friday 4th January 2019