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Second tenant fails to get cash
9:00am Thursday 7th June 2012 in News
A LETTINGS agent whose business shut without warning has been hit by a second allegation that he failed to return cash to a tenant.
Anna Wilczak claims Brian Reaney failed to give back more than £700 she paid in a deposit and fees for a flat in Swindon.
The mum-of-two, 35, says she gave up chasing Mr Reaney for the money after he failed to return her calls.
Mr Reaney previously admitted failing to return £1,000 meant to house an homeless Army veteran, which had been provided by two charities.
The latest claim concerns money paid by Miss Wilczak after she moved from Wantage to Swindon about 18 months ago.
She found an advert online for a flat in Copse Avenue and first spoke to a Polish employee at Ferris Estates, which has since closed.
Miss Wilczak later met Mr Reaney to arrange the accommodation, and paid him a £700 deposit and £85 administration costs.
But she says when she moved to another address in Swindon 14 months later, he kept the cash.
The lab technician, originally from Poland, said: “From the time I moved into the property I did not have any contact with him.
“I paid the landlord every month and there was no problem. It was only when I tried to move out that I tried to contact him. I found a number for Ferris Estates but it wouldn't connect.
“There was no way of getting in touch. I have been in England for six years and I just didn’t expect something like that.”
Because Ferris Estates was not covered by The Property Ombudsman Scheme – despite carrying its stamp on paperwork – Miss Wilczak faces a struggle to retrieve the cash.
Mr Reaney admitted he accepted the £700 deposit and £85 in fees, but claims he passed on the upfront rent to the landlord.
He said: “The landlord held the deposit himself. I think he has about two or three houses.
“We found the tenant, he kept the deposit. We passed it on before we even got the keys.
“When we find the tenant we house them and pass on the deposit and that’s it. Any other work and you start losing money.”
Mr Reaney was previously accused of keeping money provided by the Royal British Legion and Royal Logistics Corps to house homeless veteran John McGrath.
But he claimed he withheld the cash because Mr McGrath had damaged another Ferris Estates property he had been staying in at the time.
This is strongly denied by Mr McGrath, a 43-year-old former Army Catering Corps soldier.
Ferris Estates closed without warning earlier this year after neighbours heard the sound of heated arguments from the office.
A friend of the landlord, who did not want to be named, said: “There is no way in the world he kept that deposit.
“In fact he let the tenant stay for free for the last month to make up for the fact it had not been given back.”