PDA

View Full Version : Can one give bad but honest ref. on a tenant leaving?



nick4692
28-03-2008, 19:58 PM
Hi,
I know that you are not supposed to give a bad employee reference but can you whether as a landlord or agent give a bad tenant reference if that is the truth?
I was informed you are not allowed to give a bad reference but isnt it my duty to inform another landlord if their new prospective tenants cause disruption, dont pay rent on time, cause damage, are the reason other tenants in the block give their notice etc?
Advice please?
Thanks

Ericthelobster
28-03-2008, 22:49 PM
I know that you are not supposed to give a bad employee reference but can you whether as a landlord or agent give a bad tenant reference if that is the truth?
I was informed you are not allowed to give a bad reference but isnt it my duty to inform another landlord if their new prospective tenants cause disruption, dont pay rent on time, cause damage, are the reason other tenants in the block give their notice etc?I don't know what you're on about, with respect to either employees or tenants. Why on earth do you suppose you can't give a bad reference in either case, if it's the truth?

As a slight aside, landlords have been known to give untruthfully good references as a way of getting rid of bad tenants. But consider that if you give a falsely good reference to a bad employee or tenant and get found out, you could be vulnerable to being sued by whoever got saddled with them and consequently stitched up on the strength of your false reference.

If a 'bad' ex-tenant of mine were to ask if I would provide a reference, then I'd say 'well, yes, but it won't be a good one', and let them make up their own mind how to proceed. If they were to go ahead anyway, or were to give my name as a referee without asking first, then I would certainly be honest in my reference.

justaboutsane
28-03-2008, 23:09 PM
It is against the law to give a bad employee reference, you can give neutral, good or no feedback. I have a friend who is suing an ex boss for this very reason. It was a false bad ref too! He was a ***** boss!!

Re the Tenant one I would ring the new LL and give it over the phone, there is no trace then!

Subway
29-03-2008, 07:47 AM
Out of interest, what kind of things are asked for in a landlord's reference?

Surely a new agency would smell a rat if the current one says I can't give a reference? It seems that landlord's reference is pretty standard on most of the application forms I've seen.

Ericthelobster
29-03-2008, 08:32 AM
It is against the law to give a bad employee reference, you can give neutral, good or no feedback. I have a friend who is suing an ex boss for this very reason. It was a false bad ref too!Well there you have it - it was a false reference, and that's why there's grounds for sueing. Not because it was a bad reference.

Have a read of what "Corinne Aldridge, a partner with employment law specialists Bird & Bird" has to say on the subject: http://www.totaljobs.com/Contents/Editorial/Whatcanidoaboutabadreference.html

Esio Trot
29-03-2008, 11:25 AM
The best sort of reference to give a bad tenant is to be as brief as possible. One version I like is:

I am pleased to say that this person is a former tenant of mine. Please call me if you wish further clarification.The above could be read either way.

Or again:

You asked for a reference for xxxxxxxxxx. This person resided at the property from xx/xx/xxxx to xx/xx/xxxx. By being factual in this example, but omitting everything else, because nothing is said speaks volumes.

Surrey
29-03-2008, 11:28 AM
If you are giving a reference, I would suggest you stick to FACTS that you can back up with evidence and avoid personal opinion that the tenant could refute.

If the tenant was frequently late with payment and you would be able to prove it if asked, then you can say "the tenant rented xxx property for 12 months and was more than one week late paying on seven occasions and was more than a month late on two occasions" or whatever the FACTS are.

If the neighbouring tenants called you regarding his behaviour and you have some record of that, you can truthfully say "I was called to the property on xx occasions by neighbouring tenants who complained about the noise."

If the property was inspected during the tenancy and you had to write a report on the condition, then you can say "Following an inspection 3 months after the tenancy began I was obliged to write to the tenant to ask them to keep the property clean and tidy".

I would avoid personal comment such as "He was difficult to deal with and was often rude" or "he was unpleasant to deal with" or that kind of opinion as you would have nothing you could use to back up your claims.

P.Pilcher
31-03-2008, 11:56 AM
If you provide a bad reference, even if you are only stating facts that can be proven in court, you are attracting litigation. Whether you like it or not, it will cost you money to defend your reference unless you want to take the risk and defend yourself. There is also the cost of your time and the worry of defending the action. The best action is thus to refuse to provide a reference, then no court action is possible and giving a reference is voluntary - you cannot be compelled to provide one. The second best action, IMHO, is the one line reference which say nothing as given above. But this still give the tenant the opportunity to take (unsuccessful) court action, but this can still cost time, worry and money. On the other hand you can say what you want to over the telephone with little fear of court action - slander actions are. I understand, much more difficult to bring.

P.P.

Poppy35
31-03-2008, 14:04 PM
generally, if the ref is being requested by another agent then the questions are very straightforward i.e. has their rent been paid on time (yes/no), are they in arrears etc.

Like another poster mentioned its hard if you want rid of someone as you dont want to say they have been good if they are leaving due to arrears etc - we generally say the least we can get away with if the tenant has been naughty and been late with their rent etc.