Former Letting Agent Escapes Jail for Stealing Rents and Deposits

A letting agent tried has escaped jail after trying to bolster his failing business by spending money paid by tenants to secure their rented homes. 

Simon Cawley, 53, ran Severn Sales and Lettings in Worcester, and took £7,640 when his business ran into cash flow problems. 

Tenants paid the money as rent and deposits on six properties in the city between January 2013 and February 2015. 

Cawley admitted fraud and was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £700.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright said: “As part of your role as a letting agent you were supposed to be taking a deposit of money and putting it into a deposit protection scheme so that, in due course, tenants who didn’t have deductions from their deposit could get their money back. 

“You used that money to ease your own cash flow difficulties, effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

“The offence easily crosses the custody threshold but I’m going to give you a chance by imposing a suspended sentence.”

Cawley set up the letting business in 2008. Since his arrest, Cawley’s company has closed, and he has moved to Devon, where he works as a landscape gardener.

Finally in this roundup, landlord David Corry faced magistrates in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, charged with failing to produce a gas safety certificate to the HSE. 

The charge relates to an improvement notice and demands to see a gas safety certificate served on Corry in August 2016. 

Corry failed to comply with the notice. He admitted the offence and was sentenced to serve 36 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months. 

He also must serve 140 hours of unpaid work and be ordered to pay costs of £6,426. 

After the hearing, HSE inspector Wayne Owen said: 

“David Corry potentially put the health of his tenants at risk and chose to ignore the repeated requests by the HSE to produce the gas safety record.

“Every year around seven people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. It is important that landlords fulfil their legal gas safety obligations to their tenants.”

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Letting Options - Means of Managing Property

There are a number of options that can be considered for managing a property, depending on the owner’s own experience, skills and the amount of time that is available to be spent on the management process.