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mariaconnor

Homelet Referencing

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Hello,

I hope you can help me. I am currently in process of finding a new rental and I am due to move end of August.

I have found a new place 10 days ago and paid 1 week rental to the agent together with the usual fees.

They outsource the tenancy check to company called Homelet.

I did submit all my paperwork on 21 July and subsequently my work reference was returned and credit check undertaken on 24 July.

The only missing reference is from current letting agent. They did chase him up several times and I did as well.

I always had a good relationship with the agent, never paid rent late, even paid the last month, although a few people recommended not to. I was planning to let him view property while I was at work if he lets me know.

On Friday I found out that current agent has been to my flat several times over a period of few days to do some viewings. I didn`t know he was even showing because my notice only went to him Friday (he did say he understood my request for reference to be a notice).

I was noticeably angry about this, specially as he has left the window open and I had my personal items on show.

Anyway I did write him some strong worded email to say that under no circumstances he is to go to property again unless I give him permission.

Naturally he tried to defend himself and had a cheek to ask for my mobile number to advise me of viewings.

Anyway I did tell reference agency and new letting agency about this and they agreed that I can provide bank statements.

They are now playing "pass the buck game", letting agent says the sent it to ref agent, ref agent says they are waiting for landlord etc, with me stuck in the middle, unable to do anything.

I will be away most of August and I am desperate to arrange for removal, post redirection etc.

How long do you normally wait for references to be checked?

Thanks

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Just an update, LA has provided reference in the end BUT said that I was not paying on time (I never missed a payment) and that I was a bad tenant (that`s why my lease got extended 6 months ago)

New letting agent said that she can see I had paid on time from my bank statements and can`t understand what the previous LA was alking about. She is going to speak to LL.

I hope I am not going to lose my chosen house and £400 in fees already paid, it`s just so depressing.

Anyone knows what paragraph in the law can I sue the LA for providing dishonest references?

New LA is going to get me a copy of reference tomorrow.

Thanks

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Just an update, LA has provided reference in the end BUT said that I was not paying on time (I never missed a payment) and that I was a bad tenant (that`s why my lease got extended 6 months ago)

New letting agent said that she can see I had paid on time from my bank statements and can`t understand what the previous LA was alking about. She is going to speak to LL.

I hope I am not going to lose my chosen house and £400 in fees already paid, it`s just so depressing.

Anyone knows what paragraph in the law can I sue the LA for providing dishonest references?

New LA is going to get me a copy of reference tomorrow.

Thanks

Get a Solicitor and sue the LA for breach of contract. Coming into the property without prior notice is against the law.

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Guest skullingtonjoe
Just an update, LA has provided reference in the end BUT said that I was not paying on time (I never missed a payment) and that I was a bad tenant (that`s why my lease got extended 6 months ago)

New letting agent said that she can see I had paid on time from my bank statements and can`t understand what the previous LA was alking about. She is going to speak to LL.

I hope I am not going to lose my chosen house and £400 in fees already paid, it`s just so depressing.

Anyone knows what paragraph in the law can I sue the LA for providing dishonest references?

New LA is going to get me a copy of reference tomorrow.

Thanks

I`m sick of the `letting agents` - from my experience most of them are just spivs of the worst possible kind, creaming off a profit while providing very little in return. :(

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Guest skullingtonjoe
I`m sick of the `letting agents` - from my experience most of them are just spivs of the worst possible kind, creaming off a profit while providing very little in return. :(

At the moment, the status of tenants seems to be that of `second class citizens` - I really hope the law changes one day to offer better rights.

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Just an update, LA has provided reference in the end BUT said that I was not paying on time (I never missed a payment) and that I was a bad tenant (that`s why my lease got extended 6 months ago)

New letting agent said that she can see I had paid on time from my bank statements and can`t understand what the previous LA was alking about. She is going to speak to LL.

I hope I am not going to lose my chosen house and £400 in fees already paid, it`s just so depressing.

Anyone knows what paragraph in the law can I sue the LA for providing dishonest references?

Sounds like libel to me.

IANAL, but I think I can suggest one little thing if you want to sue. There's a clause in the county court acts under which you can call on them to admit a fact, so it's undisputed and you don't have to prove it in court. If they refuse, they bear 100% of the cost of proving it (provided of course you can prove it), regardless of the outcome of the case as a whole.

Use the clause in preparing your case!

I'm thinking here mostly of your word vs theirs that you always paid on time. Bank statements won't be admissible as evidence: you'd have to produce a witness - probably a bank manager who could confirm the details of every transaction would serve. An evil litigant dealing with an innocent victim will expect you to produce the statements as evidence, so you won't find out they're not admissible until it's too late.

Find that county court act. Use the appropriate wording to call on them to admit the on-time payments (and anything else you're certain you can prove). Then if they refuse, spare no expense in getting a senior banker in there as your witness to the payments.

Once again, IANAL and this is not legal advice. Use it at your peril: every law in this country has get-outs a judge can use if sufficiently determined to find in favour of one party against another.

Maybe someone else on HPC can point to the legislation I'm thinking of, as well as any serious errors in the above.

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Thanks for all the replies.

Another update.

A new LAwas told the wrong thing. Homelet did put in their report that LL said I haven`t been paying / was a bad tenant (and failing my tenancy check), hovewer when asked to prove it they were forced to admit they have actually not taken references.

Thus back to the same situation. I will not pass their check until they have LL reference and therefore no property.

I reasoned with new agent that this has been going on for 2 weeks and that me / they can`t force someone to write a reference. This is no different to situation when tenant wasn`t renting before.

I already gave them 6 months worth of bank statements and yesterday they finally agreed that I can provide my previous LL reference.

They sent them straight back. Now apparently LL have gone on holiday.

Sorry for the rant, but it`s going on my nerves. I have things booked up for next three weeks but stuck in limbo. I just want to know if it`s yes or no.

Should I tell LA that I need an answer tomorrow?

Will I get my money back if despite all this I am not granted tenancy?

What is a reasonable time period before your patience would run out?

I was not given any indication as what part of my deposit / fees is returnable.

The only thing I have says:

"What we need now is for the tenant to pay us one weeks rent as a holding deposit and £125 plus VAT as a referencing/drawing up of tenancy agreement fee (£143.75 inc VAT).

Once approved by the referencing agency we will need to ensure that we have six weeks rent as deposit and one month rent in advance (less holding deposit already paid), in cleared funds before the tenancy is due to start/agreement signed"

"Further to our telephone conversation, please find attached a copy of our standard tenancy agreement along with a referencing form for completion.

Could you please complete and return the referencing form to me at your earliest convenience along with the transfer of one weeks rent for the holding deposit (£214.60) and referencing fee of £125 plus VAT (£143.75)."

PS: I have requested tenancy agreement myself.

Thanks,

Maria

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I can't really advise on how to push things forward with the new LA. It sounds like you are making progress, so fingers crossed for you.

As for the reference, I think that you have a strong case for defamation against your former LL/LA. Assuming their reference was written, it would be libel as someone mentioned earlier. You have 12 months in which to bring your claim s.4A Limitations Act 1980

A defamatory statement is "an untrue statement which reflects on a person's reputation and tends to lower him in the estimation of right-thinking members of society†Sim v Stretch

A defence that may be used by a person providing a reference is qualified privilege; this means that they are under a moral duty to disclose unfavourable information and this is done without malice Horrocks v Lowe. Alternatively, they may claim justification; that their statement is substantially true s.5 Defamation Act 1952.

When you say that you have always paid on time, double-check your tenancy agreement. I remember renting for a couple of years and my standing order went out every month on the day it was due. Only when I moved out did I notice that the agreement required me to pay so that it was received on the due date. So I'd actually been paying 2-3 days late every month but it hadn't caused problems. This is the only way I can imagine that you could think you were paying on time but the agent could think you were late.

Otherwise, they are liable to pay you damages.

Good luck, and hopefully you will get a decision soon.

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When you say that you have always paid on time, double-check your tenancy agreement. I remember renting for a couple of years and my standing order went out every month on the day it was due. Only when I moved out did I notice that the agreement required me to pay so that it was received on the due date. So I'd actually been paying 2-3 days late every month but it hadn't caused problems. This is the only way I can imagine that you could think you were paying on time but the agent could think you were late.

Even if there were such a discrepancy, surely it would be defamatory to use it in a reference to imply the subject was a bad tenant? Unless it had previously been the subject of correspondence, the tenant should be presumed to be acting in good faith and could surely claim implied consent, so a reference that said otherwise would be defamatory. Even if it had been pointed out, the reference should have described the dispute rather than implied the tenant was simply a non-payer.

That is, of course, speaking from ignorance of the details of the case in question, as well as ignorance of the law.

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