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What Can I Do if My Landlord Won’t Give Me a Reference?

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If you’ve had a nightmare landlord who now refuses to give you a reference (whether you’re at fault, or not), you’re probably wondering what you can do about it, and whether or not it will impact your move. In this article, we outline a few things that you can do if your landlord won’t give you a reference. 

So, what can you do if your landlord won’t give you a reference? If your landlord refuses to provide a reference, there are a few simple solutions you can try; speak with your letting agent, ask a previous landlord for a reference, ask for a character reference, collate proof of rent payment, or explain the situation to your new landlord, if they seem reasonable. 

Read on to learn more about what to do if your landlord won’t give you a reference. 

Can a Landlord Refuse to Write a Reference?

It’s not illegal for landlords to refuse to write a reference. However, most landlords know that it’s always best to provide their tenant with a reference letter – good or bad – as their new landlord has the right to know about the character of their new tenant. 

What Can I Do If My Landlord Doesn’t Give Me a Reference?

Whilst inconvenient, it’s not the end of the world if your landlord won’t give you a reference letter. Below, we’ve outlined a few simple solutions that you can try to get around the problem. 

1 Speak With Your Letting Agent

Speak with your letting agent, if you have one. They may be able to step in and convince the landlord to provide a reference, or may be able to write one for you themselves. 

2 Ask a Previous Landlord for a Reference

If speaking with your letting agent got you nowhere, try asking an old landlord or letting agent. This is an especially good option if you had a good relationship with a previous landlord.

3 Ask for a Character Reference

If you still cannot secure a landlord reference, try asking for a character reference from someone that knows you well, but not a family member, such as a colleague or employer. At the very least, this speaks for your character. 

4 Collate Bank Statements

In the case of character references, you may also want to collate bank statements to prove that you paid rent in full, and on time. This should help to further reassure the new landlord that you are a good tenant. 

5 Explain the Situation to Your New Landlord

Finally, if you take the route of a character reference and bank statement as proof of rent payment, you may wish to explain the situation to the new landlord or letting agent, as they may be confused as to why your current landlord refuses to provide a reference, and may just assume the worst. 

What Can a Landlord Say When Giving a Reference?

If you chose the route of speaking with your letting agent, and they managed to convince your landlord to provide a reference, you might now be worried about what they write about you. To give you a little peace of mind, it might be helpful to know what the landlord can legally say in a reference letter:

  • Landlords should stick to the facts i.e. did they pay on time, did they damage the property, were there any complaints about the tenant etc.
  • Landlords should avoid emotional or opinionated statements to avoid being unfair. 
  • Landlords must not lie or mislead. In this case, you may be able to sue for damages, unless the landlord can prove their statements. 

What Happens if a Landlord Gives a Poor Reference?

If a landlord gives a poor reference that is truthful, and can be proven in one way or another, there isn’t much you can do to get around this, other than, perhaps, asking for character references. Also, if you were accused of late or missing payments, you could, if possible, offer to pay 6-12 months’ rent upfront to prove that you are responsible and can afford the rent.

However, if the reference states untrue, opinionated, or biased facts, you can either make an appeal to the letting agent who may be able to step in and help, or you can gather evidence for the new landlord that disproves those statements. 

Properties to Rent in Leeds and Bradford

Valor Properties has a number of properties to rent across the Leeds and Bradford area that are ideal for young professionals and students alike. Take a look at our current lettings in Leeds and Bradford on our website, or get in touch with us to learn more.