Here is an article written by Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group. ( EPTAG ) Can You Trust Your Landlord With Your Personal Details? April 4th, 2012 | Posted by admin in News
I have written this addressing some of the relevant quotes. I believe that It is important for landlords and tenants to work together to understand what we are doing and why Lifestyle referencing @ landlordreferencing.co.uk will not only help landlords but also good tenants who wish to have homes in better communities in the future .
This article is written and based on the fact that EPTAG beleive that lifestyle referencing is an intrusion on tenants privacy.
EPTAG have written the article which says to tenants that “If you live in rented housing, then there’s a chance that your personal details are being stored and shared without your knowledge. It has recently emerged that landlords have been setting up websites to share records about their previous tenants, effectively giving them the ability to create a blacklist”.
EPTAG go onto say that they can “see how this might be tempting for a landlord who has had tenants disappear on them before, but the suggestion that all tenants should be treated this way is a little creepy to say the least. If you’re thinking about moving, is it any of your landlord’s business? I’m not suggesting that a moonlight flit is the right way to end a tenancy, but it does occasionally happen, and this is the kind of risk that landlords have to accept. Landlords are making an investment, and that always involves risk, but it’s the nature of the game – the value of your investment can go down as well as up” They go on to say ” A rental property isn’t a magic cash machine, and landlords shouldn’t be able to use questionable surveillance methods on their tenants to try and turn it into one”. Surveillance? since when did taking a reference become surveillance.
I wonder how EPTAG can consider our investments and having our properties trashed as “the nature of the game ” however they do recognise that Landlordreferencing.co.uk is the best and safest web site when they go on to say “Of the three sites featured on You and Yours, Landlord Referencing is probably the least invasive one, as it keeps a list of the tenant’s previous landlords so that they can be contacted, rather than an address history. However, it’s still a little creepy, particularly as it specialises in what creator Paul Routledge calls “lifestylereferencing” and is designed to send out notifications to members when someone who has been identified as a “problematic tenant” is moving house”.
Lifestyle referencing is the process which landlords who socially network achieve together. the “notifications” mentioned above to members are the tenant alerts and again they seem to have got their wires crossed on what we do and how we do it.
In the penultimate paragraph EPTAG say “ The issue here is that the definition of a “problematic tenant”, and whether their lifestyle is considered to be objectionable, can be highly subjective”. Again I say, landlordreferencing.co.uk does not store any subjective comments on the website or in fact any comments at all. We report on evidenced rent default and property damage and that is it!.
EPTAG carry on to offer a assumption that “What about the tenant who inconvenienced their landlord by insisting that repairs were carried out, or took them to small claims court over a deposit that had been unfairly withheld? There are some landlords who would consider that to be “problematic”, and giving them the power to harm the tenant’s reputation for years afterwards would unfairly punish an innocent person. This comment is so far away from what really happens in the real world, landlords do not try and ruin a tenants reputation just because they ask for the sink to be unblocked and it shows why people who are naive to the letting industry should not write articles that they are not well versed on.
I think first and foremost EPTAG need to understand what a problematic tenant is. If EPTAG believe that a landlord thinks a tenant is a problem just because a tenant asked for a repair to be carried out they are very misguided and must have had some bad landlords. The majority of the 1.5 million PRS landlords know exactly what a bad tenant is and wish to protect themselves from getting another one . So unfortunately I reiterate, this article has been written by someone who truly does not know the first thing about being a landlord.
One of the biggest problems I have with this article is that it is factually incorrect when EPTAG say “There’s also no way of even verifying that the people who sign up for the site are even landlords,and not just a random person with a grudge. This statement is tantaumount to libel.
EPTAG then conclude the article and say “Landlord Referencing’s blurb makes the point of telling the reader that tenants can’t be trusted to give the correct information about where they used to live, and if a landlord has bought into the idea that referencing sites are the only reliable source of information, who are they going to believe if the details held by a prospective tenant doesn’t match what is held in the database?” Once again EPTAG have shown utter ignorance to how our systems work.
Landlordreferencing.co.uk has never said because tenants are tenants they cannot be trusted as implied in the article, we simply point out that those with a previous history of bad tenure cannot be trusted to give their last landlord. I have been a landlord for 15 years and have had 1000′s of tenants. I speak from experience when I say that many many tenants do not give you their last landlord if there is a history of bad tenancies and/or have a debauched lifestyle and the only way a prospective landlord will find out is to socially reference with their peers FACT.
I did reply to their post to put the record straight but they took my reply down so it is here below for you to see. Obviously If you don’t agree with them they remove your posts.
You can read the full article here Can You Trust Your Landlord With Your Personal Details?