Bishop & Sewell

As a private landlord, renting out your own property can be stressful. Most landlords tend to employ letting agents who can find prospective tenants and carry out the necessary identification and reference checks. These verification checks are necessary to make sure the prospective tenant has a right to reside in England and can afford rental payments and any additional liabilities. The references are provided to the landlord so that the landlord can decide whether to rent the property to the particular tenant.

One of the key references that landlords and lettings agents will request from a prospective tenant is an employment reference. This is typically provided in the form of a letter / confirmation from the tenant’s employer stating how long the tenant has been employed, their job role, length of the employment and salary. But what happens if the contents of the employment letter are not true? On the assumption the tenant fails to pay the rent, can the landlord make a claim against the referee? Yes, if it can be proven that the employment reference letter contained false representations and the landlord has suffered loss and damage as a result of the referee’s misrepresentation, the landlord may be able to bring a claim against the referee.

The landlord will need to show the employer made a representation which was false, it knew that the representation was untrue or it was reckless as to its truth or falsity. The landlord would also need to suffer loss and prove that it would not have entered into the tenancy with the tenant but for the references provided.

If the landlord is successful, it may be possible to recover from the referee any outstanding rent arrears, any other outstanding liabilities owed to the landlord and unpaid by the tenant (such as council tax, utility bills etc), interest and potentially some legal costs and expenses.


Giving false information in the reference letter can have a substantial financial implications on the referee if the landlord is able to establish that they relied on the contents of the reference letter and thus entered into the tenancy with the tenant.


The above does not constitute legal advice.


Contact our Litigation & Dispute Resolution Teams

Tatsiana Rao is a Solicitor in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution team. Should you require any further advice or assistance, please contact us at or call her, on 0207 7079 2410.

The above is accurate as at 01 March 2024. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 1st Mar 2024

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