References

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  • References

    Hi

    I have been led to believe I am entitled to see the references the agent recieved on our tenants? Is that correct?

    I have asked the agent for them and they say I am not allowed to see the details of the references under the data protection act?

    Have I misunderstood something here....thanks.

  • #2
    I am unsure, but if the agent is able to gain access to them, then surely so can you? The agent is not in some "hallowed ground" of being exempt from Data Protection, so it doesnt sound right that they can view them but you cant.
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks - kind of what I figured - I think the agent doesn't want me to see them because they were't as good as they should have been hence why they are quoting data protection.

      One reason I want to see them is once I get rid of this tenant I want to decide whether the agent was a miss and if so I would be unlikely to use them to manage my property next time.

      Comment


      • #4
        The only reason I could possibly think of is that the agent may have had an agreement with the tenant to do a reference check, but not an agreement between you and the tenant. However, even this is tenuous as the agent is acting on your behalf.
        Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

        Comment


        • #5
          Whatever the agent does is on behalf of the LL so if the agent sees references there is absolutely no reason why the LL should not. The last time I used an agent, she sent references to me to approve before putting the tenant in.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sukesu
            I think the agent doesn't want me to see them because they were't as good as they should have been hence why they are quoting data protection.
            Or more likely, the references don't actually exist at all!

            Comment


            • #7
              You also need to bear in mind that it is your responsibility to approve the tenants. This is what happened to me - read the Terms and conditions that you signed up with your agent closely as your agent is likely to discharge all responsibility as to the suitability of the tenant after this.
              I believe that the tenant is in a position to allow you as potential landlord to have access to their data.

              Comment


              • #8
                If there aren't any references, go to the agent with a big grin on your face and let them know that they are responsible for any problems and that you WILL be seeing them in court if necessary. It is indeed your responsibility to approve the tenants but you delegated this to your agent.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks - I am pretty sure there are references I just wanted to be sure I am entitled to see them before I go back to the agent telling them so.

                  One of the things I want to do next time round is check the references and not leave it solely to the agent. (even though that's what we pay them to do)! There is sooooo much stuff on the internet I could probably find out more about the tenants than the references show. I have an email address for our tenant and searched the internet for his email address and found numerous forums he is posting on. Nothing interesting but it is amazing what you can find. Also searched the property address in google and that's how I found out he was using our address as his company headquarters.

                  I am going to go back to the agent and insist I get them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Posted on this before!!!!

                    There's no need for all the waffle.

                    The landlord, and only the landlord can ask and should be granted the request to see any tenant references. Why? The agent is agent for the landlord and not a superior being.

                    Under the Data Protection Act the landlord has every right to see the full references and in fact should be offered them by the agent before approving the tenant's application with them. The tenant however, must NEVER be allowed to access them in any form as the agent would be committing an offence under the DPA were he to do so.

                    If the references don't exist or are poor the agent is acting unprofessionally by allowing the person(s) a tenancy and should be brought to book! Plenty more of this in other posts by using the search facility and putting in "Data Protection Act" funnily enough! I'm beginning to think I must get out more!
                    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Paul_f
                      The tenant however, must NEVER be allowed to access them in any form as the agent would be committing an offence under the DPA were he to do so.
                      Is this correct Paul? It's been our understanding as employers and landlords that you have to provide copies of information you hold on staff, tenants etc (e.g. references etc) if requested to by the person(s) involved. You can charge a nominal fee, say £5, for the admin expense of copying letters etc. This is why these days you have to be so careful when writing references - because the person can see what you've written as a reference and possibly take legal action if what's written is untrue.

                      You can't provide the information to all and sundry but only to the named individual and only information relating directly to them.

                      Paul

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Confirmation

                        Us Agents may not be superior beings or gods but we do now have to apply to be included on the DP register. This allows the agent to hold personal information. Only a recent change. Refer to Paul F's post as he is correct about the requirement to supply. We always send references to a Landlord with a reference approval letter which we ask them to sign to confirm they are happy with the information that has been gathered.

                        If a tenant wants to know or see their references, refer them to the referencing agents who made the decision.
                        For the avoidance of doubt, I am not a solicitor nor a specialist. I have simply spent many years in the business and am expressing my opinions. I would urge caution to any individual using these forums as a sole basis for decision without first speaking to a solicitor.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the info - I have gone back to my agent advising them that I insist on seeing the references. I'll let you know how I get on.

                          Whether they are good or bad is imaterial to a certain extent now but going forward I want to make sure I get them to review before we accept the next tenant.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Giving references is a voluntary action - you don't have to do it. Thus if you are asked for a reference and are happy to be complimentary then by all means do so. If however you cannot be complimentary for any reason then do not open yourself to legal action and being (expensively) obliged to prove what you said it true in a court of law. Just refuse to provide the requested reference then no action can be taken.

                            P.P.
                            Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just to clarify!

                              You are interpreting it wrongly!

                              Originally posted by paul_c
                              Is this correct Paul? It's been our understanding as employers and landlords that you have to provide copies of information you hold on staff, tenants etc (e.g. references etc) if requested to by the person(s) involved. You can charge a nominal fee, say £5, for the admin expense of copying letters etc. This is why these days you have to be so careful when writing references - because the person can see what you've written as a reference and possibly take legal action if what's written is untrue. The applicant can request a copy of the reference from the provider - you as agent are the recipient so be warned about releasing this information! Bear in mind too that if you were to give the applicant copies, what is to stop them altering the wording to satisfy another prospective landlord they are bona-fide when they clearly might not be. Forgery of such pieces of paper is extremely easy! Remember when somebody is turned down for a loan, the company will not tell you why, but instead refer you to a credit reference agency (CRA) who provided the lender with the information; the applicant is then at liberty to ask what information is held on them by that CRA.

                              You can't provide the information to all and sundry but only to the named individual and only information relating directly to them.

                              Paul
                              The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

                              Comment

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