Police called in as Portsmouth firm goes bust owing thousands of pounds

The ''Professional Tenant Finders offices in London Road, Portsmouth
The ''Professional Tenant Finders offices in London Road, Portsmouth

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POLICE are looking into a Portsmouth tenancy company, with tenants and landlords owed thousands of pounds after it ceased trading.

The News has been inundated with calls from upset tenants and landlords who had been using Professional Tenant Finders’ services.

At least five individuals have contacted police so far.

Landlords received an e-mail on Monday, January 27 from the business in London Road, North End, Portsmouth, informing them the company had ‘ceased trading due to financial difficulty’.

A liquidation practitioner has confirmed it is assisting the directors, named as Adam and Scott Dungworth.

Landlady Theresa Stancombe, who lives in Wilson Road, Stamshaw, says she is owed £3,325 by Professional Tenant Finders.

‘I discovered they (the tenants) had found out about the company’s problem through the internet,’ she said.

‘Both the tenants and I were shocked by what had happened. The tenants told me they had paid a whole year’s rent up front instead of monthly instalments.

‘This frustrated me because I constantly had to send Professional Tenant Finders monthly reminders for the due rent.’

Nicki Scott and partner Dan, from Gosport, say they are owed more than £1,000.

Nicki explained: ‘All I wanted was a perfect little family home for us and this experience has ruined it.’

Andrew Currie, who lives with his partner in Paulsgrove, said they are owed a £1,000 deposit.

The 37-year-old, who does not work because of health reasons, said his conditions have been affected by the experience.

‘It has made all the problems that I have even worse,’ he said.

Landlord Jeff Hancock, who lives in Fratton and let one property out through the company, says he is owed £2,900.

‘I have seen no money since mid-October,’ he said.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary confirmed a number of people have made complaints.

He said: ‘We have been made aware through the national Action Fraud scheme of several complaints about a company that acts as a rental agent. We are in the very early stages of looking into these allegations.’

In a statement, Simon Lowes, director of Ashtons JWD insolvency practitioner, said: ‘The directors recently approached my firm for professional advice concerning the financial position of the company. During that discussion, it became apparent that the company is clearly insolvent due to the fact that it appears to be unable to meet its liabilities. My firm is aware of allegations being made against the directors.

‘Given the circumstances, my firm has now been instructed by the directors to assist with placing the company into creditors voluntary liquidation.’

A creditors’ meeting for anyone who believes they are owed money will be held at Portsmouth Marriott hotel, in North Harbour, on March 14.

The meeting will only be open to those who are owed money by the company.

Anyone with relevant information can write to Ashtons JWD, 10 Shedfield House Dairy, Sandy Lane, Shedfield, Southampton.