AIBU to be suspicious of this LL?

(153 Posts)
Nicebucket Wed 02-Sep-15 20:47:07

In case anyone has followed my previous thread about my flat hunt, I've finally found a place that seems suitable.

The rent is within my budget and inclusive of all bills. The area is also fab!

But

There had to be a catch :-(

The landlord wants the rent ONLY via cash or cheque. For reasons I cannot understand, he is unwilling accept payment via bank transfer.

I found this a bit dodgy! The guy i spoke to is the property manager, who manages and maintains flats for the landlord. He's the one who collects rent etc. and he is saying the landlord won't accept bank transfers, and he prefers cash/cheque.

I found out about this guy via an agency and he rents properties via the agency as well. I've dealt with that agency before and I know they're all right. But this particular flat is not being let via the agency (which I dint kind because it saves me money on agency fees)

He's willing to give me signed receipts for the cash and the cheques are all recorded anyway.

I still find this dodgy! Clearly he has a bank account, which is how he'd cash the cheques. So why can't I make a transfer to that account? And the cash is even dodgier! Surely he's trying to evade tax or worse?

Would you do it? Would you agree to pay rent only via cash/cheque?

In case this LL is dodging tax, or doing something criminal could I get into legal trouble for it?

I know I could keep looking for something else, but I've really struggled and I couldn't find anything as nice as this for the price :-(

alicemalice Wed 02-Sep-15 20:49:01

It's up to him to pay his own tax, not your responsibility.

Cheques are very traceable so not sure it's for tax dodging anyway.

JeffsanArsehole Wed 02-Sep-15 20:51:03

There's a few different scams. Like you pay before you move in and then there's someone else there.

It's not going to be a legal AST with cash payments, I'd be wondering if he gives you a proper contract?

Will your deposit be protected? It has to be

00100001 Wed 02-Sep-15 20:51:09

as long as your getting receipts as proof you paid each time, I woudn't worry tbh.

Plus give cheques, not cash.

SisterMoonshine Wed 02-Sep-15 20:52:27

I don't know, there are still plenty of people who don't trust internet banking. Or he may not want to give you his bank details.

OutToGetYou Wed 02-Sep-15 20:54:42

My nephew just paid a large deposit and first month's rent for a flat and never heard from the 'agency' again. No flat. No money.

Cheques give a bit more protection, you have a couple of days to stop them I guess.

In the days before bank transfers existed we a paid cash and cheque!

I wouldn't use 'this guy', I'd use an established agent.

HirplesWithHaggis Wed 02-Sep-15 20:55:05

Perhaps his bookkeeping system is a bit old fashioned, and he likes to note payments as they are made to him, rather than having to check through his bank account every week/month to make sure you've paid? Accepting cheques does indicate that it's not a tax dodging scheme.

Fwiw, we pay our rent in cash every month, and get a receipt. Ll would accept direct transfer too, but we had a dodgy experience in the past with the bank fucking up our payments, so we prefer to do it this way.

Nicebucket Wed 02-Sep-15 20:56:40

Well, yes there will be a proper contract he assured me if that. I won't be giving any money without it anyway!

I've viewed the property and it's empty. I've also spoken to a couple other tenants in the same building, so the guy seems legitimate.

I'm uncomfortable about 3 things-

1. Why don't we get to meet the actual landlord? Or is it quite common for tenants to just interact with property managers?
2. If he is dodging tax or doing something criminal, clearly by paying him in cash, I'm helping him to do that.
3. Withdrawing £950 from my account every month. Won't it flag up with my bank?

HirplesWithHaggis Wed 02-Sep-15 21:00:36

At £530, our rent is less than yours, but we take out the maximum cash machine withdrawal of £350 one day and the balance another day without the bank raising an eyebrow.

But you can just write a cheque, I really don't see what your problem is, tbh.

And of course we have a legal tenancy!

ceyes03 Wed 02-Sep-15 21:00:55

Of course it's common not to meet the landlord. That's what property agents are paid for - to manage the rental of the property.

tobysmum77 Wed 02-Sep-15 21:03:00

I think he doesn't want you to have his bank details.

Nicebucket Wed 02-Sep-15 21:03:34

But this person is not an agent! He's a property manager. :-(

I know I'm being very suspicious, but I work in financial services and I get background checked every 6 months. So I need to be very careful about what I'm getting involved in.

ceyes03 Wed 02-Sep-15 21:04:50

Yes, exactly. A property manager. Who manages the property. That's what they're paid to DO. They deal with the contracts and all the nitty gritty so that the landlord doesn't have to. Have you ever rented a property before?!

JeffsanArsehole Wed 02-Sep-15 21:05:03

We wait a second

Property manager? hmm

What if the 'landlord' (old lady he scammed/property he stole as abandoned/someone in the service away) doesnt exist??

JeffsanArsehole Wed 02-Sep-15 21:05:26

Yes, I may have been reading too much true crime bollocks grin

acatcalledjohn Wed 02-Sep-15 21:06:50

I would ask about the deposit protection, as that would be your biggest worry. Like others have said, cheques can be traced. If you do go for it, ask about the deposit guarantee and who this will be with.

Personally I would find it a bit dodgy having a LL refuse a standing order or DD.

OutToGetYou Wed 02-Sep-15 21:07:55

If you work in financial services then you'll know that taking money OUT of the bank won't trigger anything. Also that the limits that cause the trigger (I expect you mean the anti money laundering regs) are far higher than £900.

If he's into anything illegal it's really not your problem, just get a receipt. If gets into trouble this will not be flagged on your background checks.

I'd still use an agent myself.

HirplesWithHaggis Wed 02-Sep-15 21:08:10

Or watching too much Scooby Doo, Jeffs! grin

Seriously OP, paying cash/cheque is not indicative of anything dodgy, and even if it were, how could you be held responsible for what your LL does?

Nicebucket Wed 02-Sep-15 21:08:29

Exactly :-(

Unless he finds ME dodgy and doesn't want me to have his bank details.

Nicebucket Wed 02-Sep-15 21:12:00

I don't work in retail banking, so I'm rather clueless about the limits that flag up for money laundering etc.

So I wouldn't be questioned if I withdrew £950 every month?

Hoppinggreen Wed 02-Sep-15 21:15:50

My fil owns quite a few flats and he prefers cAsh or cheques.
He is completely honest and fair to tenants and even pays all his tax due!!
He's in his 70's and doesn't like to give out his bank account details, I've asked him why and he doesn't really even know, but he just "doesn't like it"

HirplesWithHaggis Wed 02-Sep-15 21:16:06

No, you wouldn't be questioned. No-one would bother you.

OutToGetYou Wed 02-Sep-15 21:16:59

No, you wouldn't be questioned for withdrawing your own money. And if you were, you'd say "it's rent, here's my tenancy agreement".

Why not ask your bank about it in advance? You can do one of those online chat thingies.

Nicebucket Wed 02-Sep-15 22:27:24

Well, I did speak to my bank but they didn't really understand the problem.

They didn't understand why I can't make an electronic transfer but I can pay a cheque.

Most importantly, I don't have a chequebook and it'll take 7 days for them to send me one sad

HirplesWithHaggis Wed 02-Sep-15 22:54:56

I suspect the person you spoke to is on the young side if they really don't get it. More training needed for them.

If you want this place - and it sounds great - you'll have to accept the ll's little foibles. You can pay the deposit (yes, do check it's put into a protection scheme) and first month's rent in cash (withdrawn over the counter, there will be a higher daily limit than there is on ATMs) and subsequent rent payments can be made by cheque.

Otherwise, keep house hunting.

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