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To be creative with the truth about why we can't give a reference from our old landlord when trying to rent a new flat?

(30 Posts)
Nomdujour Sun 24-Jul-11 11:14:45

We got on with our old landlord pretty well until we moved out. She signed off the deposit and then several months later tried to get us to give some of the money back as her new tenants were withholding rent over a couple of issues.

We had been prepared to give up some of the deposit, and we were also prepared for a fight as she had always been very tight and we had had endless issues with poor plumbing, poor flooring etc that she tried to fix herself. Before we moved we paid half towards a new kitchen floor as a gesture of goodwill - the guy who did it told us categorically that it was poorly laid with the wrong underlay and cheap tiles but she was convinced we had broken it by dropping pans (!)

Anyway, when she said we could have it back I was very happy as our first dc was due and we were moving back in with relatives to save money.

Several months later, when I was in the midst of newborn hell and pnd she started emailing about the 'appalling' state the flat was in when we left. Actually I agree, it was pretty bad. It hadn't been painted for nearly 6 years since before the tenants before us moved in! And one of the walls was mouldy, as was the kitchen sink. She had obviously forgotten this information as I distinctly remember he trying to sort out the sink herself with some polyfilla. Anyway, I digress.

While I would have been happy to negotiate with her prior to leaving the flat and receiving the deposit back, I was in no mood to do it several months down the line and in the state I was in. My view was that she chose to do a poor inspection and then bugger of on holiday while we moved out, so her loss. Maybe it wasn't a great decision but as I said I was depressed and stressed out of my head and anyway, it was last year. It's done now.

My dilemma is what to say now we want to try and rent again. Do I say we fell out? That we've lost contact?

Sorry for the long post. Writing this reminded me how upsetting I found it all.

PumpkinBones Sun 24-Jul-11 11:20:13

It sounds incredibly stressful. I would say you've lost contact - you've only got a mobile number for her and it's disconnected, say.

Toughasoldboots Sun 24-Jul-11 11:22:42

I will be in the same position as you as when I move I won't have a reference. We have had visits from the police and tax office for our ( extremely wealthy) landlord and I am pretty annoyed to say the least.

I also rent out a house to tenants so can see both sides and am very aware that there are some awful landlords around, in fact I think landlords should have to be referenced as well as tenants.

So, in my long winded way I am trying to say that I wouldn't worry and be honest. It wouldn't make/break a tenancy for me and I don't place much faith in them.

HerHissyness Sun 24-Jul-11 11:30:12

I am an inventory clerk. If I conduct a check out and miss damage or a cleaning issue, that is IT! I can't go back a day later and say Whoops, there's a chip here or a scuff there, or you forgot to dust the backs of the doors.

Oh I could try (I don't, I'm very fair) but the TDS would boot the claim from here to kingdom come.

Your LL gave you back your deposit, that is it. contract over and done with.

You have bank statements that show you have paid rent to her consistently, on time etc etc? do you also have proof that you got your full deposit back? did you pay that money back into your account, or is there an old email from her that you could show?

Talk to the letting agent and explain you can't contact her any more, and what can be done? perhaps arrange and offer a guarantor if need be?

Nomdujour Sun 24-Jul-11 11:43:43

Offering a guarantor is a good idea. My dad would be happy to help. And yes we could show that we were always on time with rent. I also have an email from the letting agent confirming we could have our entire deposit back.

Thanks, I was starting to get ridiculously stressed about it!

HerHissyness Sun 24-Jul-11 12:16:12

it ought to be OK, have been there, it's so stressful.

Enjoy your now peaceful sunday! smile

HerHissyness Sun 24-Jul-11 12:17:03

The letting agent may be able to offer a reference?

aquafunf Sun 24-Jul-11 12:18:41

can you not just get a reference from the agent- surely all they could say is you paid your rent on time and got deposit back. these are the salient facts. TBH, even if you hadn't got every penny back I can't see that it is an issue- that is what the deposit is for. As long as you have paid rent and not wrecked the place, its not that relevant.

Nomdujour Sun 24-Jul-11 13:04:10

Thank you all, I've calmed down now. smile

And breathe...

CRS Sun 24-Jul-11 13:08:50

Our former landlady accused me of stealing her "kitchen bin" which was in fact a cracked plastic bucket, and I didn't nick the fucker anyway. Among many, many other weird things. I feel your pain, but our current landlord is fab, I'm sure you'll be fine as you can show prompt rent payments and that you did actually get back your full deposit. Good luck.

vickibee Sun 24-Jul-11 13:15:59

i thought tenancy deposits had to be held by an independent body now? If there is disagreement the body is like an arbitrator and helps resolution fro both sides?

Nomdujour Sun 24-Jul-11 13:29:49

Yes, the deposit was held by the TDS, but return has to be 'signed off' by the LL.

alowVera Sun 24-Jul-11 13:38:45

If you moved out last year, and are currently living with parents then do you even need a reference from her?

FlangelinaBallerina Sun 24-Jul-11 14:06:06

Yeah is there no way you could just say you've always lived with family, and not mention the previous renting at all?

PenguinPatter Sun 24-Jul-11 16:05:15

We've had landlords take references from employers and personal references rather than previous landlords.

Might be worth asking/checking - we've never had a problem with the landlords but some have been overseas and difficult to contact and the letting agents were being bloody minded or wanted to charge for a reference.

Plus first let I had no previous landlord to ask for a reference - you could say you were in that position because your living with family currently.

Madandbad Sun 24-Jul-11 17:14:59

Have to say whenever I have had a potential tenant 'claiming' to have had no previous landlord, I would always as for proof of address on the electoral role for the last 3 years or a guarantor. Landlords are onto this scam I assure you!!!

GiddyPickle Sun 24-Jul-11 17:55:44

Its not a scam though if a past landlord decides months after you move out that he's not happy with the state the property is now in. Once you move out, have the inspection and the deposit is handed back that is it, over, final. There is no way a landlord should be pestering several months later about a floor or a sink that may or may not be down to a past tenant. The whole point of the deposit and inventory and inspection process is that there is an agreed end point to everybody's liabilities. If the landlord doesn't bother with a full inspection before handing back the deposit then more fool them but this does not leave the tenant responsible forever more for any damage he subsequently finds. So its hardly a scam to say your past landlord can't give a reference if the reason is that they haven't understood the inspection process and are being totally unreasonable about trying to pursue a late claim which has no grounds at all legally or morally.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 24-Jul-11 18:16:50

OP ask the letting agents if they will give you a standard reference.

We have rented for several years now and moved multiple times due to work, and I have never had people require a ref directly from the LL, only the letting agents.

Madandbad but some people aren't on the electoral roll, no? Or at the wrong address? E.g. our LL is on the ER, but at our address - they used to live here ages ago and have clearly never bothered to change it.

IIWY I'd just ask the agents for a basic ref saying that you paid rent on time, and offer a guarantor if that isn't enough plus the email about the full deposit's return.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 24-Jul-11 18:18:01

Giddy completely true, BUT that winds you up in 'he said, she said' territory and unfortunately some people will just see that as trouble and stop listening. Much easier to go with the LA reference (which is totally legit) and just sidestep the issue if poss.

Nomdujour Sun 24-Jul-11 18:38:16

Ok, that's interesting - what does a standard reference from the LA cover? Just that rent was paid on time for the whole 3.5 years and that the deposit was returned in full? Not 'Oh and then the landlord got in touch after and said x y z'?

Have no idea if she did pursue it that far of course.

Madandbad Sun 24-Jul-11 22:08:46

FYI, the only way a letting agent can legally provide a reference is where they have managed the property otherwise this would be an illegal representation!!

Why don't you just approach your LL, as someone else has started they cannot now legally come back, after 3monts after you have left demanding money. This must now all be covered by an inventory and where no inventory has been carried out the TDS nor the courts will adjudicate this matter.

Also, RP, it is a legal requirement that all members of a household be listed on the electoral roll. As such, it is unlikely that anyone who is legit can manage to stay off one of these for 3 years in a row.

If a potential tenant came to me with this story, I would be more inclined to listen if they were honest! But would refuse any tenant that looked remotely dodgy.

While I would agree there are some very unscrupulous landlords out there, there are equally some career pain in the neck tenants out there that go from one landlord to the next not paying rent and causing unmeasurable costs through the process of eviction.

Bottom line is, there are so many tenants out there now that landlords can afford to wait for the right ones with the right referencing!

Nomdujour Sun 24-Jul-11 23:17:00

What, you mean ask my old ll for a reference?

I am pretty sure no one would rent us a flat if we did. She was not happy!

Nomdujour Sun 24-Jul-11 23:17:40

There was no inventory.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 24-Jul-11 23:48:28

Mad really? My old LAs wrote us a reference and they never managed the property. Who knew, eh... (the LL's reference would've been clean, too, we just didn't know to ask them for it!).

As for the electoral roll, I know loads of people my age (late 20s/ early 30s) who still use their parents' address because they move so often and are still on the electoral roll there. They vote postally or similar. Don't know how they don't get caught, but many of my friends do this, mostly for security reasons with banks etc sending sensitive info after you have moved out of a place.

Madandbad Sun 24-Jul-11 23:56:48

Nom.... If there was no inventory I wouldn't worry. To make a deduction from a deposit, this 'must' be in place.

Also... RP... LA will do anything to get their commission nowadays. It doesn't surprise me. Did they at least collect the rent?

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