Lancaster University Students Union student newspaper SCAN has an interesting report about student lettings boss John Sanderson, who has liquidated his company, LPNM, one of the Lancaster's largest student housing providers; and is blaming students for the company's collapse, citing unpaid rents.
Some property owners who have contacted SCAN have a different view of the situation and have set up a Facebook group to gather information on LPNM's activities. Confusion also surrounds the return of student deposits for "utilities charges".
The SCAN report also notes Mr Sanderson cites “void” in the student housing market was also to blame for the company’s difficulties. Explaining the student void Mr Sanderson said there were “1,250 empty beds in Lancaster” in the previous academic year.
Commenting on the closure, Mr Sanderson told the Lancaster Guardian that “it is most regretful that the huge losses encountered by the company due to voids and student bad debts meant that property owners lost some of their income for 2014/15.”
In an interview with SCAN, Mr Sanderson stressed that LPNM were a company who “bend over backwards for students.” He said “we are known as surrogate parents" and claimed that students are to blame for the collapse of lettings firm LPMN.
He claimed unpaid rents were among the factors that led to the collapse of the company, saying “the main cause of our [LPNM’S] demise” was students failing to pay their rent” and that he was owed “£125,000 of unpaid rent from students.”
Several landlords appear to paint a different picture of the company, however, and have been in touch with SCAN to express their unhappiness and concern with the LPNM situation, and several people have commented on the Lancaster Guardian's report, one commentator noting Mr Sanderson is soon to be the focus of a BBC Rogue Traders investigation.
"Once again Sanderson gets his say but his victims don't," said one poster to the newspaper.
Property owner Jos Pashley told SCAN she became embroiled in a row with LPMN, and SCAN has exclusively heard a recording of the tense meeting between the parties.
A combative Mr Sanderson can be heard threatening not to give vacant possession of the property to the owners at the end of their contractual term. Mrs Pashley told SCAN she felt pressured into signing a document stating that properties were “returned in the same condition as when the contract started” and says she is still owed money by LPNM.
She said: “I’m keen to emphasise how the loss of local money impacts on the local economy.” Despite being listed on the creditors list, Ms Pashley told SCAN “we don’t know where this money, our money, has gone.”
SCAN notes in its investigation that over the past year, Mr Sanderson has set up a number of new companies, including Lancaster Property Network (Properties) Limited and Lancaster Property Network (Management) Ltd.
The former LPNM office in Penny Street, Lancaster, is now trading as One Stop Lancaster.
• The LPNM (Lancaster Property Network Management) LANDLORDS group on Facebook is for Landlords who are experiencing difficulty with this company in regards to getting paid and charges for works not agreed and other deductions. Sharing experiences and discussion on actions taken and help
• Read the full report, which includes comments from Mr Sanderson, other landlords and a response to matters raised from the firms' liquidator, here on the SCAN web site
• Read the Lancaster Guardian''s report on LPNM