Estate agent threaten to approach tenant's employer

My daughter and her boyfriend were given a section 13 increasing their rent from £750 to £850 per month. The start date for the rent increase was 6th October. They refused rent increase, but gave notice instead, They have agreed to leave on 6th December. The estate agent sent an email, only to the boyfriend, even though both names are on the agreement, threatening to claim the unpaid rent increase (original rent completely up to date, never late or missed for entire tenancy).

  1. Is the estate agent legally allowed to use the employers data for anything other than initial credit checks?
  2. Is there any legal procedure where an estate agent can access the salary of any employee? I understand HMRC can do this, but just some random estate agent?

Any links to legalise would be very much appreciated,

thanks in advance.

It sounds like the rent increase was lawfully executed and would be in force from the date advised. Therefore the extra rent is due.

With a joint tenancy, the landlord can pursue whichever individual tenant, (or combination of them) that he thinks will be most effective in recovering arrears.

Assuming the landlord received the information legitimately, ie as part of his referencing, then he is free to use it for this purpose. This should be covered by his GDPR privacy notice which the tenants should have received.

I believe that if they disagreed with the rent increase they should have referred the matter to the First Tier Review who would have looked at similar rents in the area and made a decision.

If they failed to do this then the increase would be in order.

thanks guys, I can see you’re probably right. They didn’t use the correct form,… how is a layperson supposed to know about these things? They wrote to the estate agent, listing a whole bunch of reasons why the increase was unreasonable, and gave their notice, which was 2 months from the first date of the increase. also, the increase was relatively large… £750 to £850. They always paid rent on time and have put up with all sorts of neglect from the estate agents… Liberty Gate in Nottingham. We believe the increase is to force them out so that they can get higher rent, which they are fine with as they haven’t been happy in the apartment. I’m a private landlord myself, and find this sort of behaviour (by the estate agent) morally bankrupt. which is why I don’t use an agent.

This LL has absolutely no reason or justification to contact an employer. In fact, it is unlawful to do so.

Partly because he is defaming/harassing the tenant (telling the employer they do not pay their rent) and partly because it is not a permitted use of collected data.

Furthermore, the LL must give one month’s notice AND provide the notice on form 4, which states clearly what the tenant needs to do to challenge it.

If he didn’t give one month’s notice it isn’t valid. If he made a mistake filling it in it isn’t valid. If he has raised rents the last year it isn’t valid. If he didn’t send it to an allowed adress per the contract it isn’t valid. If he didn’t use the form nor provided the tenant with the whole document it isn’t valid.

As a tenant I would pay the increase if it has been issued correctly, otherwise not. I would, irrespective of the status of the notice, write to the agent and the LL and tell them they will be reported to the police if they contact the employer or threaten to do so again.


I agree with Per that it would be a breach of data protection for the agent to contact the employer, but I wonder if thats what they’re saying. Is it possible that they said something about getting a county court judgement and asking the court for an attachment of earnings order, which would necessarily involve his employer?

yes, thats what it said. I posted first question before I had seen what was actually sent. However Per also makes some good points re correct completion of Form 4. I’ll double check that. Thanks

Perfect, thanks, the Form 4 needs checking for correct completion… will check that. Thanks so much

Ok, so that’s a different matter. However, no judge issues an attachment of earnings order just like that. An empty threat.

The same way no sane LL would go to court over £200 if the tenant leaves the property on a good state and no other rent delinquencies.


I am a LL Teresa and I agree with you, if you advise the tenant the rent is to increase they should have the right to reject that and move out without paying the increase.
We have the right to buy anything we like from where we like if a shop puts up the price we have the option to go elsewhere, its only common sense.

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The LL can ask the employer for rent unpaid but the employer can only deduct it if you agree to it or if there is a court order.
If the right notice was given for the rent increase there is a case for the extra rent but only when the Landlord takes it to court and wins can he/she enforce it.
If you’re moving out most landlords would just waive it and focus on the next tenancy.

trouble is its an estate agency. this is probably their protcol. it only costs £35 to start a CCJ and they have served everything correctly. Being a LL myself I advised they not agree to the rent increase but give 2 months notice instead, thinking exactly that… no point pursuing for £200. The increase of £100 a month is made with the intention of getting them out I think. The flat was let at the start of lockdown so they did get a below market rate, but since then the agents have not dealt with any issues with the property, and in fact the amenity has been severely compromised during the tenancy. Anyway, they will pay it, just for a quiet life. But it is behaviour like this that makes me avoid agents like the plague. So damaging for tenant/LL relations, and unnecessarily stressful for tenants. Horrible. I’ll just name and shame them again. Liberty Gate in Nottingham.

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