Agents are refusing a reference until we clear our debt

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Agents are refusing a reference until we clear our debt

    I've applied.for.a house through an agency, I would of preferred a private landlord but where I live there are none with 3+ bed houses, they're all 1-2 bed flats. I've been accepted by the landlord and I paid my credit check fee last Thursday, which has now held the house for us. They know we're going to fail this due to my partner being under 25 and we've already agreed (with the landlord and letting agents) that we will pay a double bond and a months rent upfront which they both accepted. Now the problem I'm having is the credit agency are waiting for a reference from my current landlord (well estate agents), but they're refusing to give one until we clear the debt on our account.

    The debt came about because when we moved in sewage was leaking under our floors from our house and nextdoors. It took us 4 months to get the estate agents to listen (this was us and my neighbours ringing and complaining because their house was being affected by it). They sent someone and they pumped it all out and that was that, we had no problems for about 9 months. It's started again and the smell is awful, we are all becoming ill and I have 3.children, ages 7, 4 and 8 months. I have asthma and when the smell is bad which is usually when it rains I have to take steroids or I'll have an asthma attack. My estate agents went bust last July and got taken over by another one, who took our account on with apparent debt on it. Now, we did owe money but we paid it off but apparently the old estate agents say we only paid £40 which isn't true. We have some ripped off pieces of paper proving the dates and amounts we paid, apparently these can't be used as proof because they're not on proper receipt paper.

    I only found out about the debt we owe (£1,600) a few days ago when I rang to see what the hold up on the reference was. They said when they took our account on that was the debt on it. Now, when the old estate agents sent someone to pump the sewage out they tried to say we needed to pay which funnily enough cost £1,600. We pay it and didn't hear anything back until a few days ago. The new estate agents have it down as rent arrears when I know for a fact that our rent has always been paid on time, housing benefit have covered our rent from the word go and I got it paid straight to the estate agents so I didn't have to handle it. When I spoke to the new estate agents today she said they legally can't give us a reference if we're in arrears, which I said were not, but according to what they took over we are. She said I need to write to the landlord and offer a set amount each week to pay it off, which I agreed to become even though I know we don't owe it for rent we need to move. She said if we pay £10 every week for 6 months then they'll release the reference which isn't possible because we move now. I asked if I paid 6 months worth of £10 tomorrow will they give the ref and she said yes. I needed to ring back to see if I'd still have to wait for the landlord to accept then I can let the new letting agents know. The woman I spoke to said the lady I needed isn't in until tomorrow so i asked her and she said "I don't know because I'm not dealing with it, but I do know that when X Came off the phone to you she told us all you offered £10 a week and she said it isn't enough, it needs to be at least £30 a.week" she was the the one who suggested £10! Not me! Plus if that was the case why didn't she tell me? Why let me think we could.sort it tomorrow?

    I need to know where I stand with this. They're denying knowing anything about the problem under the floors and tried to deny us ever ringing up about it. Well she was a bit stumped when I said my neighbours had been ringing every month about it because it affects them to! They're trying to deny that we ever moved in here with the problem but I can prove we did because 2 months before we moved in my partners uncle came to have a look at it and give them a quote. When he told them the quote they said "no, it's too expensive". They don't know that he's my partners uncle, he's a professional btw, so used can get him to back us and say they let us move in to a property that was unsuitable.

    What can I do about it? Do I have to pay the £1,600 because they're saying it's rent arrears? How do I prove that rent has always been paid? Are they correct in saying recant give us a reference? What can I do? We can't stay here anymore, I'm becoming reliant on steroids and its obviously not going to be good long term. Sorry it's so long, I'm just stumped and you all seem like knowledgeable people. Thanks.

    Edit: I was thinking of ringing the new landlord and ask if he will let us move in without the letting agents and explain why. They've already accepted us as new tenants. Would this annoy them and then they could decide to pull out from it and go with someone else? Thanks everyone.

    An agent or a landlord does not have to provide any reference at all: Any more than a tenant has to provide a reference about an agent or landlord (now, there's a thought..).

    Have you given notice on where you are now or has landlord/agent given you any notices??

    Tricky, no easy way out on this one...
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


      Yes I've handed.My notice in, I've done it 3 times but they're saying they haven't received it. I need.the reference for the credit check, should I ring them up (UK tenant data) and explain my situation? I have just had.Someone here from my current estate agents and he said they're legally not let me leave whilst I'm in arrears. I'm willing to pay even though I know they're.not rent arrears, I just want out of this place but they're not accepting anything! He said the landlord isn't willing to sort the sewage problem out because I've done it, but I've spoken to the guy who come and looked at it before we moved in and he is willing to stand up for me if I need it. I just need to know what the next.step is.

      Should I contact the new landlords and explain the situation and see if they will do it privately? I'll offer to pay any fall.out fee they will incur by pulling out from the estate agents, I'll even offer another £650 if needs be.

      Oh I wish we were able to give references for landlords! That would be interesting!


        Originally posted by maybes View Post
        Yes I've handed.My notice in, I've done it 3 times but they're saying they haven't received it. ...

        How (txt, voicemail, email, letter?? ) have you handed your notice in??

        You need to be careful: If you don't leave after your notice expires the landlord/agent could charge you double rent...
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


          Your post says that HB paid your rent from the word go, but then you also mention about some receipts for money you've paid.....Is that for cash topup payments then?

          The council can easily provide you with a printout of what money has been sent to the landlord for starters which will help somewhat in working out where your rent account stands?

          Have you actually asked the new agent for a full printout of your rent account statement to see what all of the ins and outs are?



            I phoned up.twice.and also put it in writing. I.didn't know they could do that, but I have requested that they send to me in writing that they haven't received it. Can I still leave when I stated I have to wait until they agree?


            Yes it was I have requested that today but I'm confused by it, it says 'rent received-£X' but then that goes on to make me be in arrears. I'm waiting on one from the council.

            I phoned the council today because I'm sick of it all. He said.that I have grounds to take him to a small claims court because they're saying they don't know a thing about the sewage but the council have records of us phoning, them coming out and the letters they sent to the LL and estate agents. I also have proof I've rang and wrote to them about it, the Windows are cracked and that my boiler hasn't been serviced for 2.years now. I have all the proof I need, but I'm unsure of what to do. I just want to get out of here, but he advised that it will just carry on for other people who may not know their rights.

            The way I see it.I have 3 options:
            1, pay the £, get my reference and just leave and carry on paying a debt I don't agree that I owe.
            2, send him a letter threatening court action and say if we come to an agreement then I won't (eg, he clears my debt and pays for the repairs himself and call it quits,.if you will)
            3, take him to court and sue him, forcing him to undertake any structural repairs.that need.doing.

            I just need someone to tell me which I should do. I know court is a long road and could take months, and I'm not interested in the money, but he needs to pull his finger out and sort his property. Mine and my families.medical records will show how many illnesses especially infections we have had since living here.

            EDIT: my other neighbours are the tenants that were here before me and they left in 2012 because of these.problems. Also.the plug sockets the skirting boards and I can't have more than 2 appliances on at a time. So I can't have my washer, dryer and fire on at the same time because they blow the electrics. I have to have my fridge plugged in constantly so I can only use 1 other thing at a time. The plug sockets are wobbly and pulling away from the wall. He's been told about this but again, done nothing.


              I would suggest that you contact your new landlord and explain that your current agents are refusing to give you a reference,
              and explain why (in as calm and reasonable way that you can).
              They genuinely believe that you owe them money because of the previous agent, it's going to take some time to sort out and you need to move.
              Don't blame the agent - they've been given some wrong information and if this wasn't so urgent, you'd be able to sort it out between you.

              I don't think that you should pay the debt if you are certain that you don't owe it (unless having the new place is worth basically giving them £1600).
              If you agree to pay £30 a month and then stop, it will be much more difficult to argue in court that you don't owe them the money.
              It's quite likely that the agent will take you to court to try and recover the money (which sounds like an accounting error if the first agent didn't try and recharge you for the drains issue blaming you when it happened).
              However, for a debt to exist, there has to be some basis (an invoice, an agreement to pay something or do something.)
              You can't simply create a debt because it says so in a companies records.
              The current agent should be able to show you an invoice you haven't paid, or an agreement you haven't honoured.

              Your notice needs to be right - it's best in writing and should be in line with your tenancy agreement.
              But unless your new landlord is understanding, there's a risk you will be leaving your current property without having a new one to go to.

              So talk to your new landlord - but remember its a business for him, and you need to make sure he understands that the agent is being unreasonable, not that you actually owe money you're not going to pay.
              Probably best if you could talk to the landlord face to face or, failing that, on the phone.
              Text and emails don't really work for this kind of conversation.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


              Latest Activity