Has agent any responsibility for referenced tenant?

by Readers Question

11:45 AM, 13th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Has agent any responsibility for referenced tenant?

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Has agent any responsibility for referenced tenant?

My letting agent referenced and let my 2 bed semi rental property. The tenant apparently paid his deposit and first months rent.

However, he has not paid anything since. It is now 4 months on and I requested the agent to issue a section 21 rather than a section 8 and go for the debt afterwards.This has been issued.

The question is: does the loss of rent fall on me Or has the agent some liability?

Regards

Ken



Comments

Graham Bowcock

12:53 PM, 13th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Ken

Firstly, check the ToB that (hopefully) you agreed and signed with the agent and see if their liability is stated or limited.

Secondly, if they did what they were supposed to in terms of referencing, in fairness it's not their fault that the tenant has not paid. It happens, I'm afraid - part of the joy of being a landlord.

If the agent missed something in the referencing then the position may be different and there may be some obligation on them.

I suggest you clarify what went on then visit your agent to discuss and agree a way forward, just don't necessarily expect them to reimburse you the missing rent.

Gary Nock

12:57 PM, 13th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Ken. Usually in these circumstances
unpaid rent is a landlords occupational hazard.However it also depends whether or not the agent has acted in a diligent and professional manner by thoroughly referencing the tenant and giving you their opinion as to suitability. If they have and the checks were okay then there's not a lot more they could have done except chase the tenant. If seen to be negligent they should be insured against client loss via professional indemnity insurance. I would also check that the agent is a member of a Property Redress Scheme and Client Money Protection which should be on their website and on their literature. CMP protects landlords and tenants from loss in the event that an agent becomes insolvent or otherwise does not pay over rent received from tenants. And also check that the tenants deposit has been protected.

Chris Daniel

13:17 PM, 13th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

If Agent was paid to carry out reference check and has done so, demonstrably badly, They are professionally liable.
See ;
Hale v Blue Sky properties, 2016 and
Shevlin v Sequence, 2016

Jan Martin

15:28 PM, 13th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

I would ask to look at the referencing if you havent already looked at it .I have just refused an application and I know that an agency have just rented to them .This is why I carry out my own checks then if anything goes pear shape then I know I have at least done my best .

John

10:13 AM, 18th May 2019
About 7 days ago

HI, I have a case where the agent sub-contacted the referencing and the tenant stopped paying after 6 months. They committed in the contract to do the referencing but subcontracted to a Referencing agent.
The reference was close to perfect however I have since researched it and found it was full of lies. It stated that she was in a £90,000 pa job but she was unemployed, It said she was starting a new job at the time she was moving in but this did not happen, it had an employer reference from a tiny 1 man band which seems to be a dummy from a friend, they said that they had viewed recent bank statements verifying her earnings which could not have been true. I took it to the Property Ombudsman who amazingly concluded that the letting agent had done nothing wrong as they just adhered to the referencing agency report. It seems that the ombudsman and the letting agent are in partnership or they dont want to upset the letting agent or they might move to an alternative redress body. Surely the letting agent is still responsible and cant just sub-contract the referencing and relieve itself from all responsibility? I now have about £20,000 debt due to this letting agents actions so what is my best course of action?


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