SHELTER INVESTIGATION UNCOVERS LOCAL ROGUE LANDLORD TAME ESTATES

 Shelter is today Wednesday 8th September exposing the shocking tactics of Manchester based landlord Tame Estates who have attempted to unscrupulously rip off a number of tenants in the area.

Evidence gathered by the charity reveals how the company, run by Michael Hanley, has levied unjustified and excessive charges on tenants and their unsuspecting guarantors and failed to carry out basic repairs.

Tame Estates has been identified as part of a national investigation by Shelter to uncover rogue landlords across the country. The charity aims to weed out those individuals in the private rented sector who are operating under the radar and ruthlessly exploiting vulnerable tenants.

This company came to the attention of the charity when a Local Authority officer reported a disproportionately high number of complaints from tenants about Tame Estates over the last two years.

 Tame image

Tenant in Manchester with exposed electrical fixtures on a severely damp and rotting wall.
Shelter’s investigation gathered evidence from a number of tenants, mostly single parent families on low incomes, illustrating how the most vulnerable are often the victims of this kind of harsh practice           
       

One such case is Sarah Jones *. She moved into a Tame Estates property with her five year old son and says that she was left for nearly three weeks with no heating or hot water. When Sarah tried to leave the landlord gave her a huge bill with a series of charges for arrears and damages. When Sarah challenged these charges the landlord refused to give any explanation for them.

 Tame Estates went after her guarantor for around £2000. Fortunately the case was thrown out of court after Tame failed to provide rent statements proving their claim that the tenant was in arrears.

Sarah Jones says: “Tame estates prey on vulnerable people and told such lies, saying I’d been sent rent slips when I hadn’t. I’m just glad to be out of there and in a house where I’m not being persecuted.”

Sarah’s case is by no means a one off. Further evidence found by the charity showed examples of Tame Estates chasing tenant’s guarantors for extortionate charges, such as £35 for each phone call or letter. The landlord has then threatened to seek possession of the guarantors homes on failing to pay.

The charity also found cases of tenants moving into Tame Estates properties with broken windows, exposed electrics, condemned gas fires and severe damp. In many cases the conditions are so bad that they could have a serious impact upon tenant’s health and safety.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “We are absolutely disgusted to discover the way in which Tame Estates has treated these unsuspecting tenants who have placed money and trust in its hands.

“It is clear from the evidence that they operate in an unfair and underhand way, completely failing to fulfil their responsibilities as a landlord.”

 “We know there are many more operators out there like Tame Estates, but tough defamation laws and legal loopholes make it difficult for us and others trying to stop them to name and shame all but the very worst. But with over 6,500 households privately renting in Tameside, and with more and more people now entering the sector, it is essential we rid the market of these rogues before anyone else becomes a victim.”

A Tameside Council spokesman said “We estimate that Tame Estate holds about 2% of the private rented stock in the Borough, but are the subject of about 15% of the complaints received so far this year.”

Mr Robb continued: “It’s time for local authorities to clamp down and take a zero tolerance attitude towards these people.  The Government must send a clear signal to tenants, landlords and local authorities that enforcing the law against rogue landlords is a priority.”

The survey is part of a national investigation launched by Shelter today which aims to uncover the true story behind England’s rogue landlords. The charity is highlighting cases they have uncovered which demonstrate the appalling conditions, financial scams and distressing treatment some tenants have to live through. The charity hopes this will encourage other victims to come forward and is calling on members of the public to share their own experience of rogue landlords.

“We want to expose and evict as many rogue operators in the private rented sector as possible and we urge anyone been affected by the practices of a rogue landlord to get in touch with us immediately so we can offer advice and ensure their experience becomes part of our investigation. Visit www.shelter.org.uk/evictroguelandlords today and help us evict the rogues.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. 6,500 households privately renting in Tameside is calculated from figures published in Tameside 2008 Strategic Housing Market Assessment:  http://www.tameside.gov.uk/housing/shmafinalreport.pdf
  2. *The name has been changed to protect the tenants identity

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