Terrible reference report?

by Readers Question

14:49 PM, 26th June 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Terrible reference report?

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Terrible reference report?

A well known London letting agent found us a tenant, but subcontracted the referencing to a Referencing Agency. The reference report recommended that we accept the tenant and was a glowing report.

After 6 months she stopped paying the rent, but the agent failed to inform us and we only discovered this when our Bank informed us we were in the red. We then did our own research on the tenant and found that she was evicted from her last flat, was out of work when she moved in and paid the first 6 months rent from savings, she had been several months in arrears with her previous landlord (the report said she had only been late by one day on one occasion). In summary the report was contrived and include untruths.

To our amazement the Property Ombudsman concluded that the letting agent was not at fault as they only went by what the Reference Report said.

We have now managed to evict the tenant who has left with no forwarding address, so we can’t progress enforcement so she has no CCJ in-spite of being a serial offender. The rental debt is over £15,000.

Surely the letting agent must be responsible and I would appreciate your views on this.

Many thanks

Trevor

 



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:54 PM, 26th June 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Hi Trevor,

It is not possible to say if there was any negligence on the Letting Agents behalf from the story so far, but the reference certainly seems to be at fault or not in depth enough.

Was the reference contracted by yourself or by the agent. If it was contracted by the agent they will need to be the people taking it further or suing the reference company.

However, you need to ascertain what level of information or enquiry was requested first and then assess if it was negligent.

DALE ROBERTS

20:49 PM, 26th June 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Write to the Court who granted your eviction order stating that, as an eviction was enforced, a CCJ must be registered against the tenant. I did this against a very similar rogue tenant and the Court granted a CCJ against her. I confirmed the CCJ was registered by contacting the Registry Office at info@registry-trust.org.uk.
Secondly, always do your own tenant referencing by utilising both tenantregistry.co.uk and landlordreferencing.co.uk where savvy landlords upload their rogue tenants.
And ensure you upload this tenant to these sites to prevent other landlords from becoming her next victim.

John

10:34 AM, 27th June 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 26/06/2019 - 14:54
The Letting Agent appointed the Reference Agency. I am sure that they would not sue the Referencing Agency for this one case as they use them throughout London from their multiple stores. Surely the Letting Agent must take responsibility even if they sub-contract the referencing or perhaps this is a way letting agents escape taking any responsibility?
In retrospect it is very clear that the reference report was contrived.

Stephen Smith

10:39 AM, 27th June 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 26/06/2019 - 14:54
Hi,
Put simply you will have to sue both the agent and the referencing company.
You will need to prove your case in that they were negligent in their duties. An obvious issue is the tenants salary, were you told they were unemployed etc, etch
Copies of references etc, this would reveal addresses, efforts made to substantiate the references etch
As an aside, we NEVER use agents as they are simply useless!
Stephen

Chris Daniel

23:59 PM, 27th June 2019
About 4 weeks ago

If you employed the Agent to carry out the work of finding a suitable tenant ( and Agent sub-contracted the tenant referencing ) AGENT is responsible, as they are the party you engaged and paid.
See
Hale v Blue Sky properties, 2016 and
Shevlin v Sequence, 2016
Both are cases where landlords successfully won compensation for all their losses as result of lack of or poor referencing.


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