Letting agent gambles away £12,000 tenant deposits

rogue letting agentA Plymouth estate agent has admitted that he gambled away £12,000 that tenants had given as deposits on properties.

Paul Rosendale was handed the money from tenants and should have paid the cash in to the Deposit Protection Service for safeguarding during the tenancy.

Instead, he spent the money on his gambling habit.

At Exeter Crown Court, Rosendale admitted five counts of theft. He was given a two-month jail sentence suspended for a year and ordered to carry out 120 hours of community work.

Recorder Mr David Bartlett told Rosendale: “You were paid these deposits for various properties and should have passed them on to a secure authority but you kept them for your own devices.

“I am mindful of your present circumstances in which you are a full-time carer for your partner and that you have no money. For that reason I don’t make a compensation order.”

Prosecutor Jonathan Barnes explained Rosendale ran Torbay Residential Lettings and that the main losers are tenants who cannot reclaim their money.

He explained Rosendale had admitted spending the money when interviewed, with some going on wages and some on gambling.

Paul Dentith, defending, said Mr Rosendale had hoped to be able to repay the tenants and added that he got in to financial trouble because he had no experience of running a lettings business. He took over the business at short notice from his partner when she fell ill. He is now her full-time carer.

This is the second case of this kind in recent weeks in Plymouth. Recently, letting agent Keith Ranson pleaded guilty to stealing more than £210,000 from landlords and tenants.

He took the money to pay off credit cards and arranged lavish family holidays, Plymouth Crown Court heard. Ranson ran R House letting agency which had two branches in the city. His business was hit hard by the recession, and Recorder Paul Derbyshire said Ranson stole money instead of facing up to his problems.

He pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.


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