Worried about current landlord giving false reference

We (me and my housemates) are currently in the final stages of reference checks and are worried about receiving a bad reference from our current landlord. We have lived there for a few years, and have never been late with rent or had any other issues. However, when we were given notice (a few months ago), the landlord in her explanation said that part of the reason was that we contacted her too frequently with repairs and other issues - and it was too expensive for her compared to tenants that she had previously. In that email, she also said that she had had to replace the fridge and washing machine (last year) and although she “had no evidence”, she was sure that we had damaged these appliances (this is not borne out by the repairmen – who had advised her to replace them because they were too old).

At the time of replacing these appliances, there was no indication in her emails and communications that she thought that we had damaged them - so this came out of the blue.

Now we have a flat that we found, and the online system has requested a reference from her. What if she gives a bad reference about her beliefs that we damaged the appliances? Even though she has admitted in a prior email that she has no actual evidence? Do we show this email to the letting agent? Also, our current letting agency collected the rent for her, and has confirmed that we always paid rent on time. And she also says that we contact her with repair after repair – and no previous tenant did this. But this is exactly why we had to – because the previous tenants didn’t and things just seem to have accumulated. And at the same time, over the years, she has insisted that we contact her as soon as we notice anything wrong with the flat. So we just couldn’t win – we either ignore the issues (which she doesn’t want) or we contact her about them (which she doesn’t want either).

Just feeling really scared that she can just use the reference as an excuse to vent and state her beliefs – and we will be left homeless. Also, she is overseas and not in the UK. We have dealt with her primarily through email, and through various maintenance people who she retains.

She also had major renovations going on for two months recently (originally supposed to take two weeks) - during which time we did not have access to the kitchen, constant dust in the house, and workers going in and out during the day and at unpredictable times. We were not offered any compensation for this. And now we feel like we can’t complaint to the current letting agent because she might respond by giving an even worse reference to spite us.

If you are still living there then don’t worry, the landlord wants you gone so will tell new landlord that you are simply the bestest tenants to have ever lived.

If already moved then you could try calling old landlord to try to smooth things over. Speaking is best.

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Thank you for replying! Yes, I agree and my housemate is saying the same thing – but we have to be gone by the end of the month anyway. Her providing a bad reference won’t change that – it will just make life hellish for us and she will be rid of us anyway :confused: We have no choice but to leave.

I wouldn’t worry, too much, landlords will generally give neutral or positive references as a way of getting rid of you. There really isn’t any incentive to give a negative reference.

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Yes, thank you. But people keep saying this, but because our lease is up, we have to move out anyway so she is already rid of us in that sense since we can’t legally stay in the flat. She tends to be unpredictable and somewhat irrational which is what worries me.

If this were to happen, go armed with all correspondence to new agent. Simply state the truth, but I would try to actually speak to someone rather than rely on email to get your point across.

Agents get paid a percentage of the bill to arrange to fix things for landlord. A good landlord wants to be told when there are genuine problems before they get out of hand.

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I think LL can’t give a bad reference, the same way as employer, unless they can back it up with provable facts. Otherwise, they open themselves to litigation (wink, wink in direction of a broken fridge).
We have just evicted a T who we would not recommend to anyone. We received a reference request and just ignored it. It’s easier than potentially fight your corner in the court.

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If I had a genuine problem tenant who had moved out but wanted a reference at a later date, I would state facts regardless. Although I can’t see this ever happening as they know when they have been trouble so wouldn’t put me down as a reference.

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You sound like the best type of tenants any landlord would like to have , paying rent in time and being understanding to live through the middle of the renovation. Unlike some hellish tenants who would complain about anything and unlawfully withhold rents and stay in the property regardless tenancy ending or not until landlords having to evict them through the hassle of court process . If I were the landlord, I would have really appreciated genuine tenants like you and provide good reference . I was a tenant in the past and just like you never had the nerve to withhold rents, the unfair justice system in the UK has provided a playground for rogue tenants doing anything as they wish . Being a landlord in the UK is about luck these days getting genuine decent tenants . The UK justice system is a joke .

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Of course, Mark. We actually considered it. But it was a three Q. questionnaire, and it wouldn’t even start to paint the picture of this person not paying council tax and all bills ever or maxing every single credit card and boasting about it to us in person and on Facebook with pictures on a cruise or in an expensive restaurant with a glass of wine or some or other international travel.

It was a form with three questions, and only one of them would go against her - non-payment of rent. As Helen says, our rental system is a joke. This T doesn’t have any property - no savings, no car, etc. She can easily declare herself bankrupt without any repercussions. She’s also a EU citizen and can leave UK for any EU country, if the s**t hits the fan. She once mentioned wanting to move to Germany. She’s a very intelligent woman, and speaks German, amoung other languages. By the way, she’s very open about her lifestyle and likes to tease others with it. And she’s very likeable.

It’s the system that is broken and ineffective. She didn’t pay council tax and bills for 4.5 years and didn’t need to hide. She did the same at her previous place in Wales. How people are allowed to get away with it? Now we keep contacting city council to tell them that she moved on, and they keep sending her letters threatening with bailiffs (4.5 years later). I think we will give up. With CC like this all scammers can rest assured that they won’t get caught.

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I agree with the others that she should provide you with a decent or neutral reference because she wants you out. I know you think you have to go because your lease is up, but you actually don’t. If you stay, (and keep paying her rent the tenancy goes to a periodic tenancy automatically) she has to then wait two months to apply to the courts to evict you, getting a hearing at the courts can take 6mths, and then the courts still have to give you notice before the landlord can apply to send the bailiefs in who are the only people legally allowed to evict you. Even without a valid lease you have all this protection in this country. I’m a landlady and always try to keep the communication open towards the end of a tenancy because as a landlord you really just want the tenant to leave as agreed and to leave the place in good order .

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I have in the past gave a neutral reference which speaks volumes

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Give the agents contact

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It is a bit kick in the teeth really after making you go through the renovation pain and then getting you out. Basically she benefited you paying rent and putting up with all the dust and hassle. I would do such renovation either between tenancy or not during the tenancy which I am planning to end. Good luck with your new tennacy. She will not give out bad reference as she is interested in ending your tenancy. But I also understand her point of view. I have attended my property in the past for silly things which is either not an issue or average person can do it. I guess there is two sides of every story.

I also had tenants from hell and the nerve of it they asked me to give a reference. They totally trashed my property and we are in court. But I just refused to give a reference.

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We have just evicted a T and keep receiving reference requests. I don’t know what these people are thinking.

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Tell them you will give a reference, but straight to a verified landlord

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In most cases, I think you’ll find that if the LL doesn’t want to renew your tenancy that you’ll be given a glowing reference. I wouldn’t worry too much about this as the fact your LL lives abroad can say a lot about keeping up with maintenance and such like. If you took any photos that are relevant, keep them and show them if necessary. If you get your deposit back, the LL can’t be too upset about the situation.

Good Luck.

My house renting more then 15 years the tenants never ask reference or anythink but the ask one they pay the advance they need later but give them . But last year I got so many problem with tenants they come to view the house taking picture of house and and picture of room and taking whole our house owners details what we doing and such qustion are look like to the house without comming to stay they all just going through house to house and taking picture of houses then asking us they will cook morning two hours and lunch two hours and midnight 12:00 am to 4:00 am all smelly food and midnight if they cook in side house the smell will go out the neighbours complaining the sound of meat cutting in midnight and smell comming in night. When we say to change the time without cooking night they all firing out. But until they get reference to give immigration visa extension they comming to live with us after they receive visa one to five years visa they have to fight with house owner . That why the room mates do against the house owners law and vacate the house breaking cooker frige and washing machine and cook night use more data in Wiffi, shouting and singing midnight , damaging room then we have to give notice then they will go to friends house and stay with lot of students in one house lot of workers in one house pay less room rent day room rent ÂŁ5.00 with huge friends house. Only they come to our house to stay 3 month or less to take reference from house owner to apply immigration visa