Being sued for rejecting a tenant due to bad references

by Readers Question

10:33 AM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Being sued for rejecting a tenant due to bad references

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Being sued for rejecting a tenant due to bad references

I run a small letting agency where I own half of the properties we rent out. All in all this works well as I understand what a landlords needs are!sued

However, several weeks a go we received an application to rent a property from an individual to for one of my most valuable properties in my portfolio. The property is worth in excess of £400k and the rental is £1300pcm. When we asked his previous agent/landlord for a reference for the individual we were told they were not prepared to put it in writing, but they would verbally give us a reference over the phone.

They then proceeded to tell us that the tenants rent was currently £575pcm and they had never paid their rent on time and they did not look after their property. With this information we then told the applicant that he had been unsuccessful and would not be able to rent this property.

Yesterday I received a letter from a solicitor stating I have 14 days to pay £5000 of out of court damages to the applicant for the inconvenience I have caused him by not allowing him to rent the property.

I am astounded by this! Am I now not allowed to decide who rents my property? Should I take these threats seriously?

Lyn



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:38 AM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Lyn

This certainly appears to be a spurious claim from what you have said but my advice to you is that you check the details of your professional indemnity policy with a view to reporting the claim to your PI insurers. If you don't, your defence costs may not be covered.
.

11:51 AM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree with Mark on this.

You are allowed to rent your property to whoever you like and also allowed to refuse. Did they know if this was one of your proprieties?

Check out my profile if you want to contact me

Emerald Legal

11:53 AM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Lyn,

From what you have said, they do not have a claim against you.

The advertisement to let is an invitation to treat, their application to you an offer and you are free to accept or reject that offer as you see fit.

I am really surprised any legally qualified person would send such a letter!

Kind regards

Nigel Parry

11:58 AM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

We had something similar a couple of years ago. The first thing to do (if your PI is not up to the job), is to refute the claim formally, and ask on what basis they feel £5,000 is due.
Do you have a formal application form that you use? Does this clearly state that all applications are subject to satisfactory references? If it does and they signed it, then as long as you communicated this to the prospective tenant i.e. the references did not come back as satisfactory, then I fail to see what their point is.
If you charge any fees for application, you may need to look at your conditions of taking them, and a refund may be due.
In our case, we found that the claimant was a serial offender for this kind of thing, just trying it on to see if we would pay him off to go away. We didn't.
Good luck.

11:58 AM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Emerald Legal" at "21/07/2015 - 11:53":

I would agree - is a try on

12:09 PM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nigel Parry" at "21/07/2015 - 11:58":

Hi Nigel - agree with you. Have had some as well - there seems to be a few of these serial 'try on merchants' around

sajed khan

12:15 PM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Lyn,

I would question why the person you obtained the reference from was given verbally and not in writing? It sounds like the prospective tenant has tried this with their pervious landlord hence they did not want to put anything in writing.

I would defend the claim and hopefully this will be chucked out.

12:19 PM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Lyn - am happy to help on this for you.

Check out my profile to contact me

Emerald Legal

12:22 PM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Lyn, if I were you I would write a letter back and reiterate the advice above. I very much doubt they would attempt to take it further by issuing a claim

ian

13:26 PM, 21st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Have you checked if the Solicitor actually exists, as it may be a scam.

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