Letting Agent Pays £8,500 for Bungling Bad Tenant References

A buy-to-let landlord who had the home he rented out trashed by a tenant from Hell has won a negligence case against a high street letting agent. Saul Shevlin won £8,462.14 damages, plus £410 costs from Connells, a part of the national Sequence network. 

Shevlin told the court that Connells found a tenant for his property who was a non-smoker working in financial services and that she had passed the referencing procedures. 

Shevlin said he did not receive the referencing report until 18 months after she moved into his rental property, despite requesting the paperwork 20 times. 

Shevlin won the first hearing in June 2016 at Colchester County Court, where a judge heard that the tenant was in mortgage arrears, allowed other people to move into the home, and regularly held rowdy all-night parties that disturbed neighbours. 

Police attended the property five times and made two arrests, said Shevlin. Windows were smashed, contents vandalised or stolen, graffiti on walls, utility bills went unpaid, and bailiffs made frequent visits to the property, he added. 

The referencing report included copies of a utility bill and driving licence with different dates of birth and addresses than she had given the letting agent to check out. 

Her previous address was for a business, and she offered no bank statements or wage slips, saying she was unsure of her credit rating due to ‘silly things’ her partner did in her name. 

Shevlin stated had he known this information; he would not have offered her the tenancy. 

The tenant moved out with no forwarding address when Shevlin told the agents to start possession proceedings - when the damage was discovered. 

The court agreed Sequence was negligent in the way they managed the application but rejected a second claim for breach of contract. 

Sequence appealed the ruling at Chelmsford County Court, but the judge agreed with the earlier verdict and dismissed the firm’s claim.

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