Home   Newmarket   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Newmarket lettings agent Frank Smart 'missing', owing landlords thousands of pounds in rent

Have you seen Frank Smart? Pictured outside his Wellington Street office (4013158)
Have you seen Frank Smart? Pictured outside his Wellington Street office (4013158)

A Newmarket lettings agent has disappeared owing landlords thousands of pounds in rent.

Frank Smart, who had run Smart Residential in Wellington Street, for more than 10 years, has not been seen since July and is not responding to calls from clients, some of whom he owes more than three months’ rent from properties he manages for them.

Some tenants who have rented accommodation through him are also concerned that their deposits do not appear to have been registered with the schemes set up to protect them.

The office in Wellington Street closed suddenly in July with a notice telling callers that a move to new premises had been ‘delayed due to unforeseen circumstances’. The telephone number given on the notice is unresponsive.

Mr Smart is the sole director and shareholder in Pivotal Homes Ltd through which some landlords, whose properties he managed, received their rent. The company’s change of address to Cedar View, in Cheveley Park, Mr Smart’s home address, was received for filing on July 18.

Mr Smart has not lived at Cedar View since July when he rented the property out. The current tenant told the Journal: “I have only seem him once. He has been here to pick up post and messages.”

On social media Mr Smart assured his customers: “Yes I am still alive and no I have not gone on a cruise (sadly). However, I have had no choice but to close the office this week due to a major glitch with the planned move to the new office premises.” But he does not appear to be responding to any efforts to contact him.

The deserted offices in Wellington Street, Newmarket (4013319)
The deserted offices in Wellington Street, Newmarket (4013319)

A Facebook group has been set up by Mr Smart’s customers, which has more than 40 members, some of whom are concerned that as well as owing them money, he still has keys to their properties and personal information relating to tenants.

The representative of one tenant affected, who did not wish to be named, told the Journal: “To be fair he was very helpful in finding a property for us. We paid a £700 deposit, which I can’t find any record of and six months’ rent up front. We are due to leave the property in two weeks and I will have to leave the key with the police.”

Other tenants reported that deposit protection schemes had no record of their deposits ever being paid in.

One landlord, who had two properties with Mr Smart, said: “He owes me nearly three months’ rent on one and a month’s rent on the other. I have now switched my properties to another agent and don’t hold out much hope of getting any of my money back. As landlord I could also be liable for any deposits paid by tenants which have disappeared.”

Another commented on Facebook: “Our last contact from Frank Smart was a message he sent late on August 4 stating: ‘Hi, let’s talk tomorrow.’ We haven’t heard anything since. We’re missing two months’ rent currently from him and probably the tenant deposit too.”

Anyone owed money by Mr Smart is being advised by police to contact ActionFraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre on 0300 123 2040.

Have you been affected? Call the Journal newsdesk on 01638 564104 or email alison.hayes@newmarketjournal.co.uk