Glowing References and Lies

I used to know a professional LL that had owned many houses over many years. He explained to me once that when you get a glowing reference from a prospective tenant’s previous LL you need to be careful because it is very often the situation that if they are a tenant from Hell their current LL will actually give them a glowing reference just to get rid of them and make them someone else’s problem.

Just wondering if any of the LLs on here have any experience of this?


i have always believed this but never experienced it

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i would think a tenant from hell communication between them would have all broken down. All i want to know is if they are good for the rent and respect the house. Everything else is waffle

I don’t bother with LL references as, it would be difficult for a landlord to give a bad reference if they are looking to get rid of a tenant.

Years ago when I was less experienced, I took on a a couple of tenants where their landlord gave excellent references. The nightmare started almost immediately after they moved in so, I contacted their old landlord who informed me that he did not have any problems with them when they rented from him.

I guess that was a good learning experience.

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I always give factual information and not anything else.

Recently one of the landlord asked for character reference for my tenant who left and said it clearly that I give factual reference and also send you report once the tenant is left.
This time this tenant paid rent 1st month rent in advance and deposit then recant paid in arrears at the end of the month in time as he was on furloughed and got some housing benefits.

But I made a biggest mistake in my life and throughout the rental period so much trouble and nusisance

Continue from my previous comment
Also nuisance to neighbours playing so loud music as one of the resident said that heard loud music apart from music festival.

He did not pay last month rent, did clean property damages etc and I had to take a witness with me for my own safety. My friend who thought it would be good to go in rental but after seen what I had to go through with that tenant and my friend said he now realised how hard work it is being a landlord.

My friend told me that in Switzerland all tenants have to register and they have to take an insurance for any damages or if don’t return the property in same condition landlord claim money directly.

Also landlord can decide who they can show the property as the tenant have send all details before viewing.

I’ve had a similar experience with OpenRent. The reference provided for my debt ridden ex-tenant via openrent, ticked every box!
She failed to pay rent after just three months and ended up owing me over £3000. Obviously I would never have entertained this tenant had the reference checks been accurate. So with all due respect to Openrent, this experience left me with zero confidence in using their in-house referencing system as it simply doesn’t work.


I’ve phoned 1 LL who was honest and said the tenant’s ‘Cook’ (who they’d had sleeping on the floor of her prop(!) had blocked her drains by pouring Ghee down it.
On the other side of the coin, I’ve paid my £3 to find out Owner of a prop. my former tenants moved to (Co. owned; Dir. lived in USA but had a Co. email address), to pro-actively notify him/agent of the state the tenants had left my prop. in - and their lies during ADR.
I’ve also had tenants in the past, whom I’d served Sect.21 on after 4 mths. They did leave after the 6 mths. BUT didn’t ask for a reference. I’m guessing they lied about address - and used his parents address instead?

For a tenants perspective, references are a bit strange too.

It makes enforcing you legal rights very hard. Imagine if you were a woman, and your landlord keeps illegally entering your property when you are bathing. Do you report them to the police knowing that you may need there reference to move out?

I would suggest that landlords avoid any information, except the facts of whether they paid their rent, which is common practice with employers.

Dont use a referencing agent they are often muppets. There is a key question “would you rent to this person again?” Then listen very carefully…

Actually, that is a very biased question.

Employers often ask that question too and sometimes employers say no “just because” or because the employee has questioned something. No reason to think LLs would be any different.

Any question should be fact-based. I would not answer such a question on a reference form, nor ask.

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I will ask questions as i see fit based on having rented to many hundreds of tenants in my properties over many years. You have your opinion and thats fine but dont think to lecture me on how to do the job

I made a polite, factual comment on your advice to make sure the individual gets balanced advice. I stand by my assessment of the advice.

Well it’s not rocket science to know that false landlord referencing happens. It’s even more suspicious when a tenant produces a landlord reference that they could easily have produced themselves.


Always a good idea to check out previous landlords in a direct conversation, if possible. Also try to visit the applicant whilst still in that residence.
Applicants recording parents address is a common indication they’re hiding a previous bad tenancy.
Sometimes applicants even fabricate a reference, using a friend as the previous landlord referee, so there’s certainly little comfort in such a reference, unless you follow it up and investigate it’s veracity.


I self manage my properties and as part of my due diligence I always carry out a full tenant reference check. A landlord reference on its own means nothing to me


References are wide open to being false. I put my faith in the bad debt and ccj check together with the applicants work and bank references.
A glowing Landlord reference means very little as most on here know especially if the previous landlord wants the tenants out they will provide a glowing reference just to move the bad meat onto someone else’s plate.