Fake reference tenant insists on paying agent and not us?

by Readers Question

8:57 AM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

Fake reference tenant insists on paying agent and not us?

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Fake reference tenant insists on paying agent and not us?

I have a tenant that is refusing to pay their rent directly to my bank account. He is paying through our letting agent who we do not have a managing agreement with. The tenant insists on not dealing with us and the letting agent just pay the rent on the tenant’s behalf.

My question is could this end up at the end of the contract 1) where the agent demanding back the rental payments claiming they were made in mistake; 2) the tenant disappearing at the end of the lease.

The tenant so far refused to meet me and I erroneously signed a lease on what looks like a fake job reference. Has anyone come across in a similar situation, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Alex



Comments

Rob Crawford

9:53 AM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

Have you confirmed that rent is being paid to the agent? Were they responsible for arranging the rent payment into your account? Who holds the deposit? What does the agents agreed terms of business say? The answers to these questions will facilitate a response.

SimonR

10:17 AM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

If you are certain that the work reference is false then you could apply for possession using Section 8 Ground 17
The tenant is the person, or one of the persons, to whom the tenancy was granted and the landlord
was induced to grant the tenancy by a false statement made knowingly or recklessly by -
(a) The tenant, or
(b) A person acting at the tenant’s instigation.

try verifying his employment again by way of a phone call to the company as you may also be able to use Ground 16 The dwelling-house was let to the tenant in consequence of his employment by the landlord seeking
possession or a previous landlord under the tenancy and the tenant has ceased to be in that
employment.

Dylan Morris

10:31 AM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

As the tenant is paying you the rent I’d just sit tight. Yes a false reference shouldn’t have been given, but you’ll now be “shutting the gate after the horse has bolted”. Do you really want all the hassle and cost of evicting him ? He’ll likely stop paying the rent and the whole thing will cost you substantial money. The falsification of the reference should have been picked up at application stage, too late now, put it down to experience.
Regarding the payments to agent it would seem your agent was employed to manage the property from the outset, otherwise why would the tenant even know of him let alone be paying him, or have his bank details. I’m guessing you’ve now split from the agent and managing yourself. I think there’s more to this ?

Graham Bowcock

10:52 AM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

Hi Alex

I don't suppose that the agent wants to receive the rent erroneously as this will be a pain for them (and some costs and liability. I think I'd ask the agent to write (or even meet if it's local) the tenant to explain that the agent will not accept rent payments.

Unless, as Dylan says, there's more to it; why would the tenant not want to pay the landlord? It is possible that the tenant had the agent's details for payment of the first month's rent/deposit, or may have been a tenant of the agent previously. However, the tenant needs to be told in no uncertain terms to pay rent to you and the agent needs to be told not to accept rent.

You could serve notice of the landlords details; hopefully these are in the tenancy agreement, but just as a belt and braces.

Alternatively if there is something bubbling up that you have not revealed, if the tenant is paying rent to the agent, agree a modest fee for the agent to continue collecting it. That way you've more chance of getting it.

JB

11:55 AM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Graham Bowcock at 21/06/2019 - 10:52
I use a tenant find service and the first months rent goes to the agent. Thereafter the tenant pays me directly. The tenant often accidentally pays the agent the following month as well.
What does your tenancy agreement say? The tenant should pay according to the instructions in it.

BB

11:57 AM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 21/06/2019 - 09:53
Both the tenant and the agent said rents are paying through the agent. The agent is not responsible for anything after the tenant feeing process. I manage the property myself and not using their managing services. Terms of business say I should be charged for this, but they just passed over the rent in full to us.

BB

12:00 PM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 21/06/2019 - 10:31
My concern is the legal front if the agent said its a false transfer and requesting money back from me. I used this agent to look for tenants for me and I paid them tenant finder fee. After that, they would pass the tenant to me and I will manage it from there on. The tenant just keeps on paying the agent as if the agent is managing for me but that is not the case. I do not have any agreement other than tenant finding with the agent

BB

12:05 PM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Graham Bowcock at 21/06/2019 - 10:52
We have a tenancy agreement signed with the tenant. The reason the tenant say that he does not want to pay directly to me is that he does not want to deal directly with me. I questioned him about the employment reference after moving in (finding out that the agent had done the reference instead of getting a third party and I tried to verify the employment reference but the stated employer said he doesn't work there). I found the tenant through this agent so that is why the tenant knows about their bank details.

SimonR

12:47 PM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 21/06/2019 - 12:05
If the tenant is refusing to deal with you directly how are you going to do any remedial works of get the gas safety done. I would serve the S21 as soon as I could or alternatively a S8. This tenant sounds like they going to be hard work.

Rob Crawford

14:22 PM, 21st June 2019
About 2 months ago

I would suggest a serious chat with the agent. Remind them they are working for you and get the to sort out the mess. Make sure you are talking to the agency principle. Also, ask for a copy of their complaints redress process. This should detail what ombudsman scheme they are signed up to. You are the landlord - take charge!

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