Giving a Tenant a Reference

Giving a Tenant a Reference

10:52 AM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago 25

Text Size

I was approached this week to give a reference to an outgoing tenant by an Agency in Beverley.

I answered all their questions honestly.

Whilst this tenant has created us some problems they were minor compared to what some tenants do. Giving a Tenant a Reference

I summarised by stating that I would have no hesitation renewing a tenancy agreement with the tenant or keeping the tenant on. I added to the reference that the information was given in the strictest confidence.

I have since had some very irate phone calls and texts from my tenant claiming the agency have turned her down based on my reference.

I re-emailed the Agency pointing out that the information I gave was in the strictest confidence. My tenant also called them up again after. The Agency then went onto give more specific information from the reference to my tenant, but giving a slightly different spin on it. She as since called and text again and is irate that she has lost her £400.

I spoke to the Agency yesterday and they claimed that they would not have released this information. However, it is very specific and not something that could apply to every tenant, so there is no doubt in my mind they have. I could even tell the lady on the other end of the phone was not convinced her college had not released the information.

They claimed that there were other reasons too that the property had not been offered to my current tenant, although that is not something my tenant is saying. I suggested that they might have simply used that reason or reasons instead of taking an element of what I had wrote using that. The lady could not answer that.

What should I do?

Is there a body to make an official complaint to ?

What I suspect they have done is used small parts of my reference to turn her down instead of giving her the genuine reason.

Overall the reference I gave was honest but did suggest that she was a tenant I was happy with and would accept.

I am very seriously considering refusing all reference requests in the future.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Many thanks



by Eleanor White

13:07 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Our referencing agency were really reluctant to provide the transcript because of exactly this reason. Their fear was that it would discourage landlords from providing references, but unfortunately the law is the law and they had to surrender the transcript. Incidentally it proved that the agency had not done anything other than be honest. There was absolutely no content that the tenant could argue with as it was entirely factual.

As Vanessa says, it's a double edged sword, and landlords can have motivations to provide a good or bad reference.

We do have situations when landlords either can't or won't provide a reference, in which case we ask the tenant to provide bank statements to show that they have been paying the monthly rent, and encourage the new landlord to visit them at their current property to see the condition it is being kept in.

I can totally understand your reservations about providing a reference, but a good agency shouldn't act as this agency has done, which essentially seems to have passed the buck to you!

Provided you are honest and stick to the facts, there should never be any cause for complaint.

by Dean

13:45 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "13/03/2014 - 12:48":

Yes I agree Vanessa . I hate it when a good tenant leaves and asks for a reference.But I have always given them the appropriate one . I always ask them to keep my details just in case it doesn't work out. I have had a few come back and more than a few pass on my details to others.

I worry when I get one though. If its too good I sometimes think are they trying to get rid of these. I think that might have happened once in the past. But you usually get a good idea from just meeting up with someone. Sometimes I have just known they would be good and then if the current landlord does not return my request I read into it that they do not want them to leave.

I also have a rule. If they are so big and punched me would I be able to get up and run away ? If I don't think I could I don't take them 😉

by Mark Alexander

13:52 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dean " at "13/03/2014 - 13:45":

Your last sentence has given me the best laugh of the day so far - thanks for sharing that 🙂


by Eleanor White

13:59 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dean " at "13/03/2014 - 13:45":

Nice rule! One to live by I think! Lol ; D

by Dean

14:03 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "13/03/2014 - 13:52":

You must appreciate most of my properties are in Barnsley , and I am referring to the women ! 🙂


14:05 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "13/03/2014 - 11:23":

Hi Mark,
This mirrors a case i recently dealt with - i contacted ICO and they were very clear that as the tenant has paid for the referencing to be done, they are fully entitled to see the document in full as it is their data. I do not personally think the agent has done wrong here - well apart from the £400!!!!

by Mark Alexander

14:34 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Julie Ford" at "13/03/2014 - 14:05":

Hi Julie

The £400 is the giveaway for me, then add to this the fact they've blamed Dean's reference for the reason of declining and I'm beginning to form a picture of what this agent might really be like.

What if they have taken £400 from a dozen or more applicants?

This would not be the first instance of something like that being discovered, neither will it be the last.

by Dean

14:44 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Julie Ford" at "13/03/2014 - 14:05":

So how does the " given in strictest confidence " the data protection act and freedom of information act all work together ?

The more I think about this the more I am leaning towards not giving references .

I don't agree that the agent has not done wrong though. If they felt they hadn't they would not have denied passing on the information , tried to make out it was something else. They would have said they had a duty to pass over that information. In which case , they should make it clear on the request form that is the situation . Then people have a choice. They know they are in the wrong which is why they are back tracking and not coming back to me when they promised they would .


15:04 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dean " at "13/03/2014 - 14:44":

I think the main problem is that fact that some agents just Dont know the law as well as they should, the way i see it is an agent is meant to be the professional who advises the LL of the law surrounding the renting of a property, if said agent doesnt know all they should then somewhere it will go wrong.
When i worked as a letting agent, i used to have a lettings manager from a 'rival' firm call me up regularly and ask me if he was allowed to take housing benefit tennats and did he have to protect the bond guarantee the council paid? the bond was a piece of paper not hard cash..... and this was a Manager of a National agency firm...
i am not saying all agents are bad or ill informed, but a good number are. - just my personal opinion 🙂

by Mike W

15:44 PM, 13th March 2014, About 7 years ago

Whilst I can understand your reluctance in providing a reference in future, think on this. What would be your view of a potential tenant if their current landlord declines to provide a reference - on whatever grounds?
I would give a reference and give a copy to the tenant. As long as it is factual and can be substantiated their can be no problem.
I think problems can only arise if one steps into subjectivity. I stick to the basics: answer direct questions, state whether the obligations of the lease have been met. Invariably I state, 'at the time of writing the end of lease check has not been undertaken.'

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?