Tenant wants a reference before end of period

My tenant has handed in her notice and is extrmely paranoid about covid so going in to do an inspection before she leaves has so far been a sensitive thing. She’s been trying to make me wait till Feb 22nd to even go in todo an inspection and is being very difficult about an agent going in to do valuations and pictures…
She has agreed to me going in this afternoon and her new landlord has requested a reference. This tenant has a history of trashing the place and I have to inspect often to make sure everything is in place. If the place is in a mess when I check it this afternoon, do I give her a bad reference or give her a chance to fix things up? She wants her reference done over the weekend so she can get keys on Monday. I feel a bit cornered. I can see she’s not in a good place mentally due to the covid situation but I need to protect myself and property too.
Any advice?

In this situation there is no incentive for you to give a bad reference. If you give a bad one and the new landlord refuses to let tenant move in, then you are stuck with the tenant.

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Be honest with the Landlord.
If I have problems I let the Landlord know so they make an informed decision.
If I have not inspected because of COVID I have been honest about it but written about previous inspections.
I have had tenants not clean up after the reference but I have written to the Landlord so they know
No one is perfect but when I have been informed of the problems of upcoming tenants one can make an informed decision on taking them and if I do take them being prepared for the issues bodes for a better tenancy.
Not knowing is more stressful than knowing and preparation is the key to success

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I would add that you don’t need to give a good reference either (you should never lie on the reference of course) - but you can stick to facts i.e. they stayed here between x and y dates and always paid their rent on time.

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There is no need for you to do a check-out inspection until after she has left and at this particular time, I would recommend that as the best way forward.

The tenant may have agreed to viewings in the contract, but she can change her mind and the landlord can’t force the issue. Her request seems perfectly reasonable to me rather than subjecting both her and prospective tenants of risk of virus exposure. I also think its better for landlords to wait until the tenant is actually out the door before advertising as a) that’s the only way you can be certain it will be available and b) there may be damage to repair or cleaning to do to make it look its best.


Really appreciate all your comments and advice. Just to keep you in the loop, she allowed me to go in yesterday to do a super quick inspection and I was pleasantly surprised and all was actually fine. Place was in pretty good nick considering a 4 year tenancy. Just needs a deep clean and a little tarting up before we move forwards.

Thanks so much for taking the time to put your views forward. It’s been really helpful.

Stay safe guys