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mishyanne
04-05-2010, 08:59 AM
I am fed up to the teeth with my LL and realise after waiting eight weeks for a reference and the promise of 'It's in the post' that for some strange reason I am not going to get one. I think this is so unfair! I have looked after the property and never been late with rent in the two and a half years I've been here.


I'd like to see the law changed making it compulsory for a LL to provide a reference. In fact I am going to look into it!

jeffrey
04-05-2010, 09:44 AM
How would you construct your requirement? What if L merely decides not to help?

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 10:22 AM
Hello Jeffrey!
Not sure how to construct requirement yet. The general attitude seems to be that his refusal to give me a reference implies I have not been a good tenant.
I feel I need to stop moaning and do something about it.

Snorkerz
04-05-2010, 10:31 AM
Your tenancy agreement as to rent the property. A reference is extra workload for which the landlord gets no payment. Most of us (landlords or tenants) would not be keen on doing something for nothing - and yet it is expected in this case (not only by you, but by all tenants).

How about when you organise your change in the law, you include some sort of nominal fee - along the lines of a 'subject access request' where a fee of £10 can be legitimately charged.

Of course, a tenant may pay their £10 and find they don't like the reference - I can see a few arguments about that :)

This might be a starting point... http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 10:58 AM
I'd be more than happy to pay a fee for a reference and will put your clause in when I get the law changed.
Thank you for your input!

Lawcruncher
04-05-2010, 11:07 AM
A reference is extra workload for which the landlord gets no payment. Most of us (landlords or tenants) would not be keen on doing something for nothing - and yet it is expected in this case (not only by you, but by all tenants).

O tempora! O mores!

Everyone thinks they should be paid for every little thing they do. The way to look at it is swings and roundabouts - you get references free and supply them free.

No wonder Napoleon said England was a nation of shopkeepers.

thesaint
04-05-2010, 12:09 PM
O tempora! O mores!

Everyone thinks they should be paid for every little thing they do. The way to look at it is swings and roundabouts - you get references free and supply them free.

No wonder Napoleon said England was a nation of shopkeepers.

Sounds like a one way street to me.

mind the gap
04-05-2010, 12:13 PM
Sounds like a one way street to me.

Another senseless comment from this poster. Please clarify how LLs giving and obtaining references freely can be a 'one-way street'.

jeffrey
04-05-2010, 12:25 PM
Sounds like a one way street to me.
These are but one way of minimising congestion, inherently neither good nor bad (although occasionally frustrating).

thesaint
04-05-2010, 12:28 PM
Another senseless comment from this poster. Please clarify how LLs giving and obtaining references freely can be a 'one-way street'.

Not sure why you are so angry?

I meant that the tenant is getting the "work" (reference) for nothing.
The LL doesn't benefit from it.

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 12:38 PM
I think The Saints comment is very mean spirited.

thesaint
04-05-2010, 12:44 PM
I think The Saints comment is very mean spirited.

If I want a letter from my Dr, he charges me for it, despite me paying my N.I contributions.

If I want a letter from my mortgage company...

Snorkerz
04-05-2010, 12:51 PM
O tempora! O mores!

Everyone thinks they should be paid for every little thing they do. The way to look at it is swings and roundabouts - you get references free and supply them free.

No wonder Napoleon said England was a nation of shopkeepers.I have no problem giving free references. I might have a problem if the state forces me to give one.

mind the gap
04-05-2010, 12:54 PM
Not sure why you are so angry?

I meant that the tenant is getting the "work" (reference) for nothing.
The LL doesn't benefit from it.
Yes, he does, because as part of the tenant referencing process when that LL's tenants apply/applied for his property, their previous LL supply/supplied references freely to him.

Geddit?

I am not angry, merely a little alarmed by the number of your posts which have to be checked and challenged!

mind the gap
04-05-2010, 12:55 PM
I think The Saints comment is very mean spirited.


Don't worry about it :rolleyes:

Bit of a loose cannon...

dominic
04-05-2010, 14:31 PM
How about writing the requirement to give a reference into the tenancy agreement, making it an obligation on the LL to do so, provided T pays fee of £x?

mind the gap
04-05-2010, 14:41 PM
How about writing the requirement to give a reference into the tenancy agreement, making it an obligation on the LL to do so, provided T pays fee of £x?

Yes. Or even have a proforma giving the tenant's name and the address of the property, which does half the work for him - the Landlord need only complete and sign. For example, it could say 'This tenant has paid his/her rent on time on .......... occasions out of a possible ............
S/he has caused damage/necessitated cleaning to the cost of £.............. and has/has not disputed the retention of this amount by the LL from the tenancy deposit. During periodic inspections the property has been found to be [e.g. clean and in good condition] and the tenant has always/usually/rarely reported repairing concerns promptly.

It could give his contact details for verification purposes.

thesaint
04-05-2010, 14:42 PM
I have no problem giving free references. I might have a problem if the state forces me to give one.

A tenant came into see me for a reference on Friday, I done it Friday before I left the office, and dropped it through their letterbox on Saturday morning.

No charge.

If I was required to by "law", it would be at a charge, and within 7 days.


Yes, he does, because as part of the tenant referencing process when that LL's tenants apply/applied for his property, their previous LL supply/supplied references freely to him.

Geddit?


Your assuming that he took landlords references, unless you know this particular tenant/landlord.




I am not angry, merely a little alarmed by the number of your posts which have to be checked and challenged!

As a moderator, it's all part of your remit.

mind the gap
04-05-2010, 14:51 PM
As a moderator, it's all part of your remit.

I am not a moderator, just one of several forum 'regulars' who wish that you would think a little harder before rushing into print! We all make errors/silly statements sometimes - but the general consensus is that you make an art form of them...

bullybantam
04-05-2010, 16:25 PM
My tuppence worth on this.

I've always suppllied a written or verbal reference when requested. However I wouldn't want a law mandating references.

- A reference supplied under duress isn't likely to be glowing.
- There's no obligation for employers to provide one.
- We've already too many laws.

TenantsLuvMe
04-05-2010, 17:50 PM
Please lets be clear about this subject, which is a valid one to air.

There are no free references, anywhere.

I don't know but I would guess that many landlords will use an agency to find tenants or use a tenant assessment company themselves if they rent their properties directly.

Either way, there is a cost to the agency/company to provide this service, in terms of time and effort.
With an agency, the tenant pays for references as part of "admin fees"
Those employers and previous landlords who provide references/information are doing so out of the goodness of their heart and do not seek to charge for their time and effort.

Looking at bits of paper from previous landlord/current employer are now getting less and less reliable due to widespread fraud so fewer people are checking tenants this way, I would guess.

Employers and landlords have to take time out of their schedules to sit down and fill in a form, of varying complexity and depth of questioning, even if it is online in the form of an email.
This hidden time/effort has a cost but usually, private landlords don't seek to recover that cost, seeing it as small or piffling.

Unless something can be formally created by the lettings industry/governing body/government (god helps us), that everyone joins in with and that it serves everyone, no-one can expect any reference from anyone.
Such a system could dovetail into a tenant and landlord rating system, like Tripadvisor, although I think that such a idea needs a lot of thought and attention.

But good luck to you in getting a law created.

Lawcruncher
04-05-2010, 18:17 PM
Agents should be charging tenants fees of any sort. That is an area where the law should step in.

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 18:21 PM
Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. I find this site so helpful!

My landlord only needed to write that I was up to date with my rent and kept the property in good condition. I would rather he'd said outright that he didn't give references than to tell me it's 'in the post' and it never arrives.
When I gave notice he'll expect me to show tenants around and any reasonable person would comply with that just like any reasonable landlord would give a reference.

Thanks again!

TenantsLuvMe
04-05-2010, 18:36 PM
Agents should be charging tenants fees of any sort. That is an area where the law should step in.

Did you mean "shouldn't"?

TenantsLuvMe
04-05-2010, 18:40 PM
Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. I find this site so helpful!

My landlord only needed to write that I was up to date with my rent and kept the property in good condition. I would rather he'd said outright that he didn't give references than to tell me it's 'in the post' and it never arrives.
When I gave notice he'll expect me to show tenants around and any reasonable person would comply with that just like any reasonable landlord would give a reference.

Thanks again!

Unfortunately mishyanne, ideas about reasonableness vary tremendously.

And then you have the aspect that some landlords and some tenants who do not consider that reasonableness plays any part in their tenancy.

westminster
04-05-2010, 20:01 PM
I'd like to see the law changed making it compulsory for a LL to provide a reference.

If landlords were forced to give references, they'd be forced to give references for 'bad' tenants too. How's that going to work? e.g. "X was unreliable, dishonest, left owing £X, caused extensive damage etc". Then LL gets sued for libel, or damages for causing X to lose potential rental property, etc. Extreme example, but you see my point - you can't force people to give what are basically often unproven opinions. Even if X did owe £X he could well have a defence to the allegation, such as a cash payment which wasn't recorded, etc.

If truthfulness was compulsory, LLs would have to be given immunity from civil claims by Ts; which wouldn't be fair either, because bad LLs could give bad references out of spite or use it as a threat.

And if truthfulness wasn't compulsory, and LLs had no immunity, then the compulsory references would be worthless. I reckon, in the long run, you'd end up with an awful lot of references saying: "I confirm X was a tenant between [date] and [date]" and nothing else, to avoid potential hassle from ex-T or prospective LL, or just because LL resented being forced to provide a reference, in addition to the already very lengthy list of LL's legal obligations.

But let's say these problems were somehow all ironed out by a complex and brilliantly drafted statute, and everyone was happy at last. I think it would be fair to place a reciprocal obligation on the tenant - to provide landlord with his new residential address. Simple enough, isn't it? - a lot simpler than providing a reference - but strangely enough I bet most tenants would object vehemently to such a post-tenancy obligation.

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 20:11 PM
I would have thought paying my rent and not damaging property were facts not opinions. With regards to giving my LL a forwarding address, if I can prove utility bills etc have been paid then my business with him is finished and my new address should not concern him.

Lawcruncher
04-05-2010, 20:12 PM
Did you mean "shouldn't"?

Oops! I certainly did!

westminster
04-05-2010, 20:28 PM
I would have thought paying my rent and not damaging property were facts not opinions.
Yes, but debts and damage aren't necessarily undisputed facts, and as I said a compulsory system would mean LLs would have to provide references for good as well as bad tenants. Or would the new law make references compulsory only for good tenants?


With regards to giving my LL a forwarding address, if I can prove utility bills etc have been paid then my business with him is finished and my new address should not concern him.
You've just proved my point. You say your new address should not concern LL, but (a reference for) your new tenancy should concern LL?

Please explain the logic of this one-way street principle, and why you believe LL's obligations should continue after the tenancy ends, whereas T should have no further obligations.

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 20:51 PM
I've been legally bound in a contract with my LL. A reference would reflect my past dealings with him. Why would a LL want to know where I'm going?

bullybantam
04-05-2010, 20:52 PM
I would have thought paying my rent and not damaging property were facts not opinions.


If you're after proof that you've paid your rent, then ask LL for a receipt - I believe you do have a legal right to ask for a receipt for moneys paid over. (Assuming of course there's no rent book).

westminster
04-05-2010, 21:09 PM
I've been legally bound in a contract with my LL. A reference would reflect my past dealings with him. Why would a LL want to know where I'm going?
To enforce debts left by the tenant. There are a lot of complaints on the forum about tenants who have left owing rent and without giving a forwarding address. Complaints about landlords not giving a reference are comparatively rare.

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 21:30 PM
I have written to my LL and sent a stamped addressed envelope, left phone messages and emails. He contacted me a month after I'd requested a reference and asked if I would take another one of his properties but I politely declined. He said my envelope was on his desk and he would post it the following day but I never received it and he never answered my calls after that.

I no longer try to contact my LL apart from having to withdraw my notice because the property I went after would not budge without a reference from him. I am planning on moving in the next couple of months but I know not to waste my time chasing him.

I have obtained a rent statement from my bank.

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 21:39 PM
Westmister my rent is up to date and always has been. Id hardly ask for a reference if I was behind with the rent or utility bills. The reference proves those facts.

Snorkerz
04-05-2010, 22:14 PM
But if ALL landlords can be made to give references, then surely ALL tenants can be made to give a forwarding address?

westminster
04-05-2010, 22:18 PM
Westmister my rent is up to date and always has been. Id hardly ask for a reference if I was behind with the rent or utility bills. The reference proves those facts.
We are not debating whether you owe rent or not. The subject you proposed for discussion was making it 'illegal' for LLs not to provide a reference or, rather, to make LL references compulsory by law (see thread title and your opening post).

I responded by presenting various arguments against your idea, but you haven't addressed them. Your only response has been that you don't owe any rent, and this doesn't comprise a valid argument.

By all means go ahead and feel annoyed by your landlord's failure to provide a reference, but why bother to put forward a general subject for debate if you aren't prepared to answer the points raised by those who disagree with you? Dramatic and cathartic for you, maybe, to propose a *new law* to deal with (it turns out) your particular gripe, but a boring waste of time for anyone who bothered to take you seriously.



I feel I need to stop moaning and do something about it.
PROTIP: Doing something will involve more than arguing how unfair it is that your LL hasn't given you a reference.

mishyanne
04-05-2010, 22:24 PM
If LL asked for forwarding address, so as not to appear unreasonable (providing my LL was reasonable with me) I would probably give him my solicitor's details so he could contact me through a third party.

mind the gap
04-05-2010, 22:29 PM
Agree with the above.

Surely the whole idea of a reference (whether an employer's, a LL's or whatever) is that it is voluntary, offered out of goodwill. It is a sad but inescapable fact that some people are lazy, disorganised, illiterate/inarticulate, very busy, weighed down by family problems etc etc and just cannot produce one when you want them to.

That's life, I'm afraid. If you have bank statements showing rent payments and your financial history, and you can get a character reference from someone of standing in the community who knows you, I should imagine that will be enough. It is a tenant's market, after all.

westminster
04-05-2010, 22:48 PM
If you have bank statements showing rent payments and your financial history, and you can get a character reference from someone of standing in the community who knows you, I should imagine that will be enough. It is a tenant's market, after all.
My main reference priority is a confirmation from the T's employer that their salary is £X (preferably £XXXXX) and indications that this employment is secure. ;)

Your mailbox is full BTW.

mind the gap
04-05-2010, 22:54 PM
Space cleared!

thesaint
05-05-2010, 08:58 AM
If LL asked for forwarding address, so as not to appear unreasonable (providing my LL was reasonable with me) I would probably give him my solicitor's details so he could contact me through a third party.

Do you oppose tenants giving forwarding details in your new "law"?

I personally don't bother with good references from previous landlords.

I know landlords that will give a glowing reference to a tenant in exchange for them leaving their current property asap to stop further arrears accruing.

GillsMan
05-05-2010, 09:29 AM
I'd actually be in favour of a recipricol arrangement. I'm a brilliant LL and I'd love to be able to show prospective tenant's glowing references from my T's.

That said, it takes me 5 minutes to write a reference and send it off, so I wouldn't charge a T anything for it, though I'd probably be less inclined to do it if it was a requirement. As someone else said, it wouldn't work if the T was a bad tenant.