Mystery surrounds a “rent-to-rent” middleman who appears to have shut up shop, leaving both landlords and tenants speculating about what has happened to money owed to them.
The Guardian has reported how Daniel Burton, director of Unida Place, has apparently gone missing despite owing both tenants and landlords money. The agency’s offices have shut down, the phone isn’t answered and the website is offline.
Numerous tenants say they are owed deposit money by Burton after leaving properties run by Unida Place. It appears Burton didn’t protect deposits in a recognised scheme.
Unida Place operated a rent-to-rent business where a property is let from a landlord and then rooms, often including living areas, are let on separate contracts to tenants. The strategy has come in for a lot of criticism with experts questioning whether it breaks buy-to-let mortgage terms.
Burton issued his tenants with licences, rather than assured shorthold tenancy agreements. Licences give renters less rights, especially concerning eviction, and should only be used in a few set circumstances.
Burton was well known on the property investor circuit, teaching delegates how to run rent-to-rent. Some of his peers in the property investment community report having spoken to him over the past few days but whether he’ll come out of hiding and face the music remains to be seen.