A letting agent convicted of theft from tenants and landlords could be working in the rental market in only 15 months.
Alison Bush was jailed for 15 months at Swindon Crown Court after pleading guilty to two counts of theft and fraud.
More than £30,000 of rent she was supposed to collect had not entered her employers’ bank account by the time she quit. She also kept a tenant’s deposit of £350 and stole another tenant’s £2000 tax rebate.
There are no barriers to setting up a lettings business, so, if she wanted to, Mrs Bush would be free to start her own agency upon her release from prison. For this reason tenants have very little idea whether their letting agent has a shady past or if their money is at risk.
Generation Rent is calling for mandatory licensing of letting agents, including a fit and proper person test. This would go a long way to prevent other tenants from falling victim to fraud like this.