Tenant tried to sell house he was renting

A ‘brazen’ tenant tried to sell his landlord’s house for over £400,000 just a fortnight after getting the keys.

Andrew Smith, 41, has been jailed for two years and six months for the ‘almost unbelievable’ crime, for which he even rented furniture from a show home company.

He claimed he was moving to the area for work when he began renting the three-bedroom home in Argyle Street, Cambridge, in February 2020,

However, within two weeks had listed it for sale online via a fake estate agent.

A potential buyer agreed a price with him, and came to view the property in June this year with a drain surveyor.

But the victim realised the possible scam after speaking to neighbours who told him they thought the house was rented and not for sale.

He then spoke to the real letting agent and contacted police, and officers discovered that many documents Smith had provided were fraudulent.

Smith had also made payments, shortly after moving in, to a furniture rental company which supplies furniture for show homes, Cambridgeshire Police said.

The force said he was arrested in Bedford and later admitted to fraud by false representation and entering into money laundering.

Smith, of Flitwick in Bedford, was sentenced at Brighton Magistrates’ Court to two years and six months in prison at a hearing on Friday.

Detective Constable Dan Harper said: ‘This is an almost unbelievable and truly brazen crime, which saw an innocent buyer almost part with more than £400,000 for a property that was never for sale in the first place.

‘The investigation has been long and detailed and we have worked tirelessly to make sure justice has been served.’

 

Note, you can sign up to get property alerts if someone applies to change the register of your property, for example if someone tries to use your property for a mortgage.

This will not automatically block any changes to the register but will alert you when something changes so that you can take action.

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