When the clues are there, don’t ignore them

The courts have just awarded over £8,000 and costs to a landlord who claimed an agent had supplied unsuitable tenants. The agent had sourced references from a business with a good track record, which, although not perfect, were deemed acceptable. However, when things went wrong an argument arose as to whether all obligations had been carried out by the agent. It is now known that the reference’s medium risk score was at the top-end of the threshold, approaching high risk, and that one tenant had a CCJ and another had supplied fraudulent employment details. The judge in the case has said that neither the agent nor the referencing company had been thorough, and that the agent should have reported the detail of the risk threshold score and the CCJ to the landlord.

The implications for agents are obvious and supported by the Property Ombudsman’s code of practice – ‘The agent remains duty bound to consider the results and highlight any potential areas of concern to both the landlord and tenant to allow both parties to make an informed decision’.

Ultimately, this brings us back to the reliability of the reference and the necessity for any areas of concern to be brought to light. With a LegalforLandlords reference, the CCJ would have prompted an ‘Accept only with guarantor’ decision and our employment verification would have shown that the other tenant’s supposed employer wasn’t a legitimate business.

There is always an element of risk with a tenancy, but there is no need for those risks to be magnified by ignoring the danger signs. That means taking care to pick the right reference and then reacting appropriately to the information therein.

Please call 0333 577 9050, email hello@legalforlandlords.co.uk or visit www.legalforlandlords.co.uk for more details of our tenant referencing service.