The ac­ci­den­tal land­lord

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Letting On -

SHE would make a 24-carat ten­ant, I was sure. I had found some­one with a crack­ing job, a high salary and such an an­gelic face I didn’t think it likely she was hid­ing some shock­ing se­cret or a crim­i­nal past. So I was a bit stumped when she failed the credit check.

When I read through the re­port from the ref­er­enc­ing agency, I saw that her em­ployer had ver­i­fied that her earn­ings were more than enough to com­fort­ably cover the rent. Her pre­vi­ous ad­dresses had been con­firmed, she had cleared the ID check and she had no County Court Judg­ments against her. So what on earth could be the prob­lem?

The prob­lem was that her pre­vi­ous land­lord had failed to give her a ref­er­ence. The ref­er­enc­ing agency had made sev­eral at­tempts to con­tact the land­lord over the course of a week, but she had ig­nored them.

After the third email failed to elicit a re­sponse, the agency had given up. They prob­a­bly thought they had done enough for their £20 fee. How­ever, the lack of a land­lord ref­er­ence meant they ruled that the ten­ant posed an “un­ac­cept­able risk”.

I was ad­vised by the ref­er­enc­ing agency to ask the ap­pli­cant for a guarantor if I wanted to pro­ceed with the ten­ancy.

This seemed an ex­treme mea­sure for some­one who was so clearly ca­pa­ble of af­ford­ing the rent, so in­stead I asked the ten­ant to per­suade her land­lord to con­tact me di­rect. When the call came the land­lord told me my ap­pli­cant had been an “ex­em­plary” ten­ant, she’d al­ways paid her rent on time and looked after the prop­erty.

I won­der if this land­lord re­alised how close her “ex­em­plary” ten­ant came to los­ing my prop­erty be­cause she couldn’t be both­ered to give her a ref­er­ence.

The land­lord’s ex­cuse for ig­nor­ing the emails and phone calls from the ref­er­enc­ing agency was that she had been busy. Well, we are all busy — but se­ri­ously, how busy do you have to be to not be able to take one phone call or send a quick email? I have oc­ca­sion­ally come across land­lords

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