Referencing Agencies – Letting Agents – Duty of Care

Referencing Agencies – Letting Agents – Duty of Care

8:37 AM, 26th February 2014, About 8 years ago 13

Text Size

We used a Letting Agency to source a tenant, the criteria was a working person, suitable for insurance to secure the rent monies, and that referencing materials to be passed to us prior to the tenancy so that any queries, if any, raised by us, could be addressed.

Tenant actually took occupation just before Christmas 2013, but i was unable to contact the agent over Christmas to as they were closed to see the referencing materials. It seems that the tenant was not on the electoral role, but the referencing agency, FCC Paragon, stated that this was OK since they had found him using other sources, Equifax I believe.

Long story short, after first month, no rent, unable to make contact with the tenant, fails to return calls, I make a claim with FCC Paragon. Referencing Agencies - Letting Agents - Duty of Care

I then find that the property is being used for the propagation of cannabis, and the property is absolutely wrecked, holes in walls for ventilation equipment etc. I did visit the property to see if I could get in, but no answer, although tell-tale condensation inside suggesting large heat and water use.

My question is; Does the letting agent or referencing company have a duty of care to the landlord to properly reference the tenant?

The High Court Smeaton case suggests that referencing agencies do not have an absolute duty of care, however I feel that this tenancy could have been avoided if proper questions were asked, questions that were obvious, bank accounts etc.

I invite your comments.




14:34 PM, 26th February 2014, About 8 years ago

We have written a Guide to Finding Perfect Tenants. Now I'm not going to claim it's foolproof, but I can tell you that we have been using this system ourselves for several years and we've not been caught out yet despite granting more than 1,000 tenancies.

This is not a plug for National-Lettings by the way, we DO NOT manage properties for anybody other than our family members.

Guide here >>>

Don Holmes

14:54 PM, 26th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Yes we have been known to visit the home of an applicant, but it is not an SOP, in relation to checks and balances with previous LL and employer we send letters to the address we have been given, again relying on some honesty, but there is only so much an agent can do, especially when only employed to do half the job in the first place.

Julie Dawson

21:35 PM, 26th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Too late now ... But for future reference if your using a letting agent, give them "your" criteria you need, ie, ID, payslips, bank statements, proof of address, so you can cross check with the references they do, and make sure you're happy and satisfied before proceeding further, and always do a home visit. Some letting agents checks are not worth the paper they're written on .... Very annoying when they charge the fees they do

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now