Concerns over possible Scandia Housing bankruptcy

Property management agency being reorganised, but managing director reassures renters and property owners the company is still in business

January 17th, 2013 5:26 pm| by admin

Despite reports to the contrary, property management agency Scandia Housing is reassuring clients that it is not on the brink of bankruptcy.

Fears of the company’s demise have been stoked by a statement on its website that the company was reorganising and that it had “stopped payments”.

Scandia Housing have also released a press statement, stating that no employees had been fired after reports that an anonymous source within the company told Newspaq that 50 employees had been laid off as a result of the company’s financial situation.

Attempts by The Copenhagen Post to reach its managing director, Peter Høyer, have been unsuccessful, but speaking with the Newspaq news bureau he said the company, which is one of the largest property management agencies in Denmark, was still operating. 

“As far as I’m aware we’re not on the verge of closing,” Høyer said. “And if anyone should know, I would.”

Høyer added that he expected the company would pay all its clients the money they were due.

Many of the company’s 9,700 clients remained unconvinced. Renters report being unable to come into contact with the company’s office, while homeowners letting their properties through the agency said they had not been paid for months.

“We’ve not received any money since November,” Tony Williamson, who owns a suburban Copenhagen home being rented out through the company, told The Copenhagen Post. “They’ve even had the nerve to charge the tenant this month’s rent too, but we haven’t been paid.”

According to the terms of Scandia’s agreements with property owners, tenants pay rent to Scanida Housing, which withholds 15 percent as its fee and then transfers the remaining amount to the owner.

“They have power of attorney over our rent finances,” Williamson explained. “There is nothing we can do.”

In the event of a bankruptcy, Jan Schøtt-Petersen, a lawyer and spokesperson for Danske Boligadvokater, an association of lawyers specialising in property law, said renters were “very protected”. 

In such cases, rental contracts would remain valid and renters’ deposits would still be returned to them. The expense of paying them, however, would fall to the owners themselves, instead of Scandia Housing.

For Williamson that would mean an unexpected 80,000 kroner payment.

“It’s completely ridiculous,” Williamson said. “There’s a huge amount of financial trust that goes into these sorts of agreements. And the fact that we have received no explanation, no reassurance and no apology is just scandalous.”

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