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Landlord accepted stolen whisky worth thousands as rent payment

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Dr Tom Simcock
Written by Dr Tom Simcock

A landlord was caught with nearly £40,000 worth of rare bottles of Whiskey that was accepted in lieu of £1,400 of rent. The Police caught Kenneth McLean, with 57 hidden bottles of rare malt whiskey in his loft.

The Police were investigating complaints that valuable whisky had disappeared from a storage vault in Grangemouth used by drinks giant Diageo.

The landlord was given a community sentence after admitting reset, and was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

From the bottles of whiskies that were recovered, 9 bottles were 37-year-old Port Ellen (worth £2,500 each) and 7 bottles were Brora 1977 (worth £12,250 each).

McLean told social workers that he had accepted them as rent, and had been “wilfully blind” to the probability they were stolen.

Solicitor advocate Martin Morrow, defending McLean, said: “He acknowledges he has been extremely foolish.”

RLA advice to landlords is if tenants are struggling to make rent payments to carefully consider options to help, however, common sense needs to prevail and accepting alternatives to rent can make the situation difficult for landlords. The RLA does not recommend landlords accept alternatives to rent.

Landlords should always ensure tenants are fully referenced and if the referencing suggests that tenants may struggle to make rent payments it is a good idea to have guarantors.

For more information and advice:

About the author

Dr Tom Simcock

Dr Tom Simcock

Tom is the Senior Researcher for the RLA and leads the RLA’s research lab; the Private renting Evidence, Analysis and Research Lab (PEARL). His expertise lies in researching change in society, public policy and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Tom’s research on housing has received national media coverage, featuring on the front page of The Times, has influenced government policy making, and has been cited in debates in the House of Commons, House of Lords and by the London Mayor.

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