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Question

England | Lettings Options (England) | Pre-tenancy (England)

How responsible is a letting agent for bad tenants?

20 Dec 2021 | 2 comments

I used a letting agent to find tenants they turn out to be very bad tenants, in that they fell into rent arrears left owning rent and leaving a large amount of rubbish and damages.

While to tenants where still at the flat I asked to agent for their referencing information, it was refused to be provided to me. They claimed they wrote to the tenants and received no reply back. I though i had a right to this information on the tenants details, referencing and right to rent checks proposes. It was quiet possible that the tenants the agent found could have limited time to say in the country but i had no means of finding this out.

I apply to their redress scheme for them to make the agent provide me with this information and they did not agree with me.

When the tenants left they left their child who stay for a few months. Since they have all gone I found paperwork that states the children age as over 18 years. I could also no make a claim to could as i did not know the children’s names as they had not been put on the tenancy agreement.

An inventory was carried out before the tenants moved in and after they moved in. I have a large amount of arrears and damages at the end of the tenancy. When all the occupants left I also found a letter from debt collections on money owned by the tenants from a pervious address.

I believe that the agent did not carry out due diligence when finding these tenants but need to see the referencing information to show this. Do I just apply to the could asking for the agent to provide otherwise and claim for my losses?

When i first met the agent at the property I asked for their terms of business. The agent said for let only they do not have any terms. During the redress process they claimed they has posted me their terms and conditions and that I never signed and returned them.

One other thing the agent made me wait sign weeks to reference and sort the paperwork for the tenancy. by mistake the provided me with paperwork that showed they could have sorted the start of the tenancy a month earlier then they did. I would also like to claim again them for lost of rent for this period.

Could you advise me on what law apply and if i do have a right to the required information and how best to present my case to the courts?

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Best regards,

Katherine

Answer

2 Comments

  1. guildy

    In our view, the referencing data held by the agent is your data and you are entitled to it. They are simply holding the information on your behalf.

    However, in order for you to hold the data, you would need to be registered for data protection with the Information Commissioner. Please see this page for more details about holding data. Without this, they could refuse to provide the information. After you are registered and they refuse again, you could try a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

    Making a claim against an agent for tenant arrears is exceptionally difficult in our view. The simple fact is that it was the tenants who haven’t paid and caused the damage – not the agent.

    You can only claim against named tenants and not children who were not named on the tenancy (it would be unusual to name children as tenants even if they were over 18).

    There has been a case (see here) where an agent was held liable for arrears. But, in that case they had taken references and the references were poor so the court held they should not have let the property to them. It will all be based upon the terms of business and what they agreed which unfortunately you don’t appear to have signed before allowing them to let the property. This makes it very difficult to prove and show what referencing you wanted them to do.

  2. Scottkat

    Thank you for your comments and guidance.

    I will let you know how the case goes.

    Best regards,

    Katherine

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