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Landlord Reference for evicted tenant includes untrue allegations

(21 Posts)
TalkinPease Mon 02-Nov-15 17:54:30

which were not part of the eviction hearing - because they do not stack up.

But the landlord has included them in a reference to a new housing supplier
with the result that
an offer of housing has been rescinded
the individual faces removal from the homeless register

Does the individual have the right to see exactly what was said about them ?
Do they have right of rebuttal ?

Can the council take them off the housing list on the basis of untested allegations ?

wowfudge Mon 02-Nov-15 22:34:37

Speak to Shelter and also the CAB.

TalkinPease Tue 03-Nov-15 18:23:36

What can they do?

Met with the Council homeless team today and showed them the court paperwork that proves the landlord is lying
but
individual is still blacklisted
and has to go to the homeless hostel rather than the flat they had been allocated

wowfudge Tue 03-Nov-15 19:39:10

Shelter are experts at helping tenants and the CAB can help someone exert their rights. Try them - it's got to be worth it, doesn't cost anything other than a phone call.

TalkinPease Tue 03-Nov-15 20:19:34

The bailiffs arrive on Friday.
The eviction is done and dusted.

Its the lies in the reference blocking rehoming that are the issue.
How does one stop / expose lies in a Landlord's reference?

wowfudge Wed 04-Nov-15 05:53:05

Why don't you speak to Shelter? They may be able to help - it won't be the first or last time this happens to someone.

TalkinPease Wed 04-Nov-15 08:16:10

I did back in September but as I say they just referred me back to the Council as the tenant is not able to handle such things themselves
and the (soon to be ex) Landlord is an unusual setup

wowfudge Wed 04-Nov-15 13:24:40

You haven't mentioned previous contact with Shelter at all. Things have moved on though now - I would go back to them and also speak to CAB. Short of instructing a lawyer, that's all I can suggest.

TalkinPease Wed 04-Nov-15 14:59:37

Lawyers have been instructed - about a month ago, but there is little they can do about the eviction because of the wording of the tenancy agreement.

Both of the landlords are Social Housing

but its how to handle the lies in the reference - so at least he can go back on the homeless list - that needs focus now.

I tried to call Shelter this morning - engaged - and nothing I could see on their website about this situation

wowfudge Wed 04-Nov-15 19:31:10

Could you do an FOI request to get some further information from the old landlord or details from their files? Ask for a copy of the notes they've based the reference on. I don't know the legalities around that though. What about a meeting with the manager of the relevant department to discuss the reference?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 04-Nov-15 19:39:37

Just so I'm clear - how do you know that the allegations are false and that you can disprove them, if you don't know what's in the reference?

TalkinPease Wed 04-Nov-15 19:40:34

What about a meeting with the manager of the relevant department to discuss the reference?
No such person. All of the "officers" are volunteers and fellow tenants.
I have met the person who gave the reference - at the court hearing.
They are the individual who started the whole ball rolling and want the tenant out of that space.

I think I'll wait and see what they actually put into writing as against just over the phone.

If the written does not support the verbal, then warnings will be given to the new landlord who are a nationally known HA for passing on gossip to the Council ...

The Homeless support worker accepted that the eviction was NOT on grounds of the allegations, so may also be able to persuade the Council to change the block on rehoming.

TalkinPease Wed 04-Nov-15 19:42:32

Anchor
The reference said that the eviction was on a specific grounds.
I have the eviction paperwork - and attended the hearing.
It was not.

wowfudge Wed 04-Nov-15 21:07:57

I'm confused now as you seem to mention three landlords, which include the original landlord, a housing association and a council. I must have misunderstood. What grounds are mentioned in the reference and what are the grounds mentioned in the eviction paperwork?

TalkinPease Wed 04-Nov-15 22:08:44

Original landlord evicted on grounds of expiry of notice to quit.
Landlord refused to allow any discussion of and thus refutation of evidence, just wanted time limit.
Paperwork and hearing supported that.

On that basis, person was allowed onto homeless register by Council
bid on and was allocated a property owned by an HA

HA took reference from original landlord that contained lies nuisance
HA told council who suspended tenant from housing register
HA now out of picture

Council will have to re home because Bailiffs go to original property on Friday

Cannot find case or web guidance on this sort of reference problem ....

wowfudge Thu 05-Nov-15 09:18:57

Is it worth going back to the original landlord and asking them to amend their reference? I really don't understand why someone would make false statements about someone if they are merely exercising their rights to end a tenancy and evict the tenant. Unless of course they are pissed off at having to take actual eviction action rather than the tenant simply moving out once the notice period expired.

Is there an agent involved anywhere in all this who could possibly assist?

It's libel if things have been put in writing and published to others which are false, but that's a civil matter and I assume the person defamed does not have the resources to take action. I suggest you contact the person's MP and possibly the local paper.

Fizrim Thu 05-Nov-15 09:49:34

The Council have to provide short-term accommodation even for the intentionally homeless, is that why they are involved now after the HA have declined to house the tenant?

From your posts (which are a little hard to follow) I think the original landlord (was it a charity?) has received complaints about the tenant. What happened after that part? Was the tenant asked to leave and they refused, did they have a long-term lease which has been ended by the Court Order?

I don't think the allegations (if that's what they were) have to be 'proved' in court before the previous landlord can mention them in a reference. Presumably the tenant refuted the allegations at the time they were made to the original landlord. Is it not likely that the reference would have asked about any allegations, not just the reason for eviction?

What feedback did the HA give the tenant as to why they were 'intentionally' rather than 'unintentionally' homeless? You seem fairly certain what the reference may contain despite not seeing it, and you may only have one side of the story.

I hope it gets sorted soon - you sound very angry about it and I'm wondering if it's a family member sad

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 05-Nov-15 09:52:57

The law on landlord references is a lot less clear than the law on, for example, employment references.

Technically you have no right to see the reference from the landlord and if it's passed on to you, there is case law that the HA/Council could be reported to the ICO. If it was a private agency, they could be reported to their professional body, too.

Was the notice to quit given because the tenant is a nuisance? Is there any truth to the tenant being a nuisance? Could it be evidenced by the landlord?

Is the person vulnerable?

The only precedent appears to be that the reference should not be "false" in either direction. That means not saying that they were a good tenant if they actually were a complete pain, and not saying that they were bad if they were not.

If you can prove that the reference is incorrect, and that it caused loss, you could bring civil court proceedings. If the landlord can prove that they believed that what they said was true, you'll lose.

You need to build the case very carefully. So the question on how their conduct was during the tenancy is really important - is there anything at all that suggests they may have been less than ideal?

TalkinPeas Thu 05-Nov-15 13:49:06

Not a family member.
Just a friend I've been trying to help for 6 months since this started.

Original landlord is a co-op. Ctte member moving for the eviction wants tenant's room in shared house.
There were accusations of nuisance - partly because tenant lost key and landlord would not issue a new one, so door knocking went on.
I have the minutes of the meeting where the tabled emergency motion to give notice was made.
Nobody knew it was coming.
Once notice was issued, landlord stopped communicating and allowed the clock to tick ... as they have done many times (and are currently doing).
Tenant had been in that room for over 20 years.

Council will indeed house into the shelter - tomorrow I believe.
I removed tenants belongings and put them into store this morning.
But tenant will not get a proper flat - that recognises that they are nearly 60 and disabled - until the reference problem is resolved.

What I've been told about the reference has come from the council, not the tenant. I have no reason to disbelieve it - and blocked access to the housing website to prove it.

Now waiting to see a copy of the written reference from the coop and whether its the same as the phone call version ...... fingers crossed they will be more careful in writing wink

TalkinPeas Fri 06-Nov-15 19:54:30

Anchor
So the question on how their conduct was during the tenancy is really important - is there anything at all that suggests they may have been less than ideal?
Yes, of course.
Over 25 years, most people with MH problems and disabilities can be a PITA
The specific accusation that caused the notice to quit was utterly without foundation though.

The Council are awaiting a copy of the written reference.
From what I hear they are less than impressed with the HA washing their hands of a point scored tenant
If the written reference does not back up the verbal, I'll leave them to fight it out.
If it does back up the verbal I have a firm of solicitors on hand who are watching that landlord for patterns ...

In the mean time the tenant moves into the shelter on Monday (first time they will have had a bed for 6 months) but I made sure the bailiffs did not destroy their belongings.

BigChocFrenzy Mon 09-Nov-15 14:52:53

Dreadfully sad, what a miserable life for the poor bloke.
Thank goodness you are helping him, tip, rescued his few belongings and found him a bed
flowers
I dread to think what happens to the totally friendless with MH problems in such circumstances.

If the LL lied, that is despicable against someone so vulnerable.
Possibly other tenants complained he was "odd" - there seems increasing intolerance and suspicion of those with MH, even if they don't actually break the rules. The pitchforks come out.

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