Property News

Tenants have the Right to See References

Em Morley - January 9, 2015
Tenants have the Right to See References

Tenants have the Right to See References

A newspaper’s consumer column has revealed the supposed right for a tenant to see a reference about them, even when the referee has not given consent. It could even
name the referee. This could be an issue for letting agents and landlords.

The Observer’s Anna Tims was sent a letter from a renter, saying: “I have been turned down my a letting agent for a flat as I failed the referencing. It couldn’t tell me why, so I contacted Blinc Referencing, which handled the process. It refused to tell me. Are they allowed to do this? Is this a data protection issue? MH, London.”1

Tims subsequently contacted Blinc, who said that they withhold references to protect referees.

Blinc’s director, Darren Bignall, states: “We would be able to write to the referees to ask if they would be happy for us to provide the applicant with a copy of the full reference. If they decline, then we would not be able to do so.”1

However, Tims believes that this approach opposes consumer protection laws. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) say that the tenant has a right to know the reasons for their decline, and this outweighs the referee’s confidentiality rights.

“The failure to explain why a check was failed may count as a misleading omission since it deprives the tenant of the chance to defend their case. You have the right under the Data Protection Act to request a copy of your personal data,”1 says Tims.