Flaw in the Tenancy Referencing Process?

Flaw in the Tenancy Referencing Process?

8:57 AM, 29th December 2021, About 4 weeks ago 40

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Being a newbie to the rental business, I employed an agent to find me a tenant plus full management of the property. The tenant has now done a ‘flit’ leaving behind all his furniture and unpaid utility bills.

Having done some research on him, I have found out that he has substantial debts/CCJs and had I known about them, I would never have agreed to accept him as a tenant.

I queried this with the agents, who said that they had run a credit check but were not allowed to reveal the bad credit rating due to Data Protection laws. The agents say they have to obtain permission from the tenant before they can give me the credit reference that they obtained.

Surely anyone who has a bad credit rating is never going to give permission for that credit reference to be shared, as no landlord would accept this tenant?

This also allows the agents to put any tenants with very poor credit ratings in any property and then hide behind the Data Protection Laws?

In future, I will know to ask for a copy of the reference and if someone refuses that I will just presume that they aren’t creditworthy. I had thought that the agent was working for me and would protect my interests, I was obviously wrong.

Jane



Comments

by Jane Tomlin

13:40 PM, 31st December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by John at 30/12/2021 - 23:55Using the excuse of 'we used a reference agency' doesn't work. Hale vs Blue Sky Properties clearly illustrates that - I think it is negligence in that case. Also, read up Shevlin vs Sequence and there is another case of a local authority too. The letting company has to be registered with either the PRS or The Property Ombudsman and to pursue your case with them is free.

by Rennie

15:50 PM, 31st December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

I am not qualified and know nothing but sounds like a lie to me. ALWAYS ask for a copy of the credit report. Always ask at least 4 questions in relation to it (even if you haven't got any - you never know what you will unearth) and phone the referencer and have a chat.

by Smartermind

0:16 AM, 2nd January 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 29/12/2021 - 11:41
"Illegal but useful to open post addressed to the tenant especially if debt collectors notifications."

No need to break the law. Just google the postcode of the return address on the back of the envelope. If it is a debt collection agency it will show up as such.

by Pixie Props

14:35 PM, 2nd January 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Just shows you never know people once they go inside and shut the front door.

We all live and learn, but, experience comes with time.

I always employ a letting agent for Let Only service they do all the checks and seem thorough over the last 10 years.

Because I am one of those softy southern Landlords, I employ a managing agent who I trust without exception and has steered me clear of a few hazards. I get him to visit the new tenant in their current home this gives him a chance to see how the tenant lives.

As soon as they move in I make the 220 mile journey to personally check them out. I also make myself known to neighbours exchanging contact details and befriending the corner shop as a source of gossip. Before the compulsory TDS was introduced I would return the tenant deposit after 12 months getting them to sign a form. I didn't want an official organisation planting themselves in the middle of my business that I had to answer too.

Sounds fool-proof eh? unfortunately I have had share of Sly tenants, Canabis farms, houses used for cuckooing drug deals, Paedophiles, failed relationships.

Sounds bad, but, have always got the tenants out, mainly by telling the tenant I have got money problems or health problems and need to sell. However I offer them 6 months notice, with a small incentive for each month they go early

So in summary, Keep as many of the agencies/legal/council bodies out of your business. You have to be hands-on. its a fallacy to put a rental business with others and expect to sit-back. Bit like folk putting their money in a building society and moaning about the miserly interest rate. What return do they expect for doing nothing.

by John

0:11 AM, 7th January 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jane Tomlin at 31/12/2021 - 13:40
Thanks Jane,
We did take it up with the Property Ombudsman but got nowhere. I also had advise from a Solicitor and we concluded that it could end up with £10,000 legal fees and there is always the risk that I could lose the case (depending on theJudges mood on the day) and then have to pay M & P legal costs on top. Sound as if you are legally trained so do you know a suitable solicitor that might take thr case on? Thanks

by Jane Tomlin

9:41 AM, 7th January 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Unfortunately, not legally trained at all. I have been researching this intensively, though a lot of the information I have read has been like wading through treacle. We are lucky in the fact that our insurance company has a 'free' legal helpline as we have landlord insurance, and I do use that. The lady at the PRS says it looks like we have a case for negligence and our solicitor said breach of contract. There are two interesting cases to read Hale vs BSP and Shevlin vs Sequence Ltd. Also the Government have made a handy Guide which outlines how an agent should conduct themselves to be in line with the law and gives examples of when an agent breaks the law. Very readable.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consumer-protection-law-for-lettings-professionals
Good luck.

by Jane Tomlin

9:41 AM, 7th January 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Unfortunately, not legally trained at all. I have been researching this intensively, though a lot of the information I have read has been like wading through treacle. We are lucky in the fact that our insurance company has a 'free' legal helpline as we have landlord insurance, and I do use that. The lady at the PRS says it looks like we have a case for negligence and our solicitor said breach of contract. Also the Government have made a handy Guide which outlines how an agent should conduct themselves to be in line with the law and gives examples of when an agent breaks the law. Very readable.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consumer-protection-law-for-lettings-professionals
Good luck.

by Jane Tomlin

9:50 AM, 7th January 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Pixie Props at 02/01/2022 - 14:35
That analogy doesn't really work. If I put my money in an investment fund and pay the fund managers 0.45% to manage my money I am not exactly doing anything yet would hopefully see some return on my money. (Last year we made 27% on our money.) I am paying a lettings agent to look after my investment - that they appear to have been negligent (according to the PRS) or there has been a breach of contract (according to my solicitor) means that I should have right of redress.
But I think I will stick to investment funds going forward, this business really isn't for me!

by Pixie Props

11:09 AM, 7th January 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jane Tomlin at 07/01/2022 - 09:50
I have come to the same conclusion and will be exiting real soon.
When I started, I was on my own, now when I look around it’s like being on a bus with more and more people getting onboard all with their hands in my pockets.
Glad you did well paying paying an advisor to manage your fund investments, long may it continue. Just remember though any fool can make money in a rising market.

by John

11:17 AM, 7th January 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Hi Jane,
I have came to the conclusion it is better to do it myself. I have a property where I found the tenant myself & manage my self and it runs smoothly. Other properties where I have used agents, management companies etc there are always problems.


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