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I have a general question, i am a first time landlord and renting my flat via an agent. Do I have a legal responsibility to check all the tenant background or is this responsibility solely on the agent please.
Legal responsibility in regards to what?
Do you have a contract with your agent? It should be clearly stated within the contract if you do.
I am just worried if the agent do not do their homework properly for example, what if they let to someone without properly check their legal status in this country. Will I also be legally responsible? I have not seen a copy of the contract yet but really want to understand the legal risk in this.
TBH I am not sure but I would suggest that you insist that they do not proceed until you have a copy of all the documentation to ensure that there is no risk.
Unfortunatly they are telling me they cannot give me the tenants personal data after the new data protection legislation come into force towards end of May. They can offer me a letter to confirm they have checked their background, which seems absurt because this basically means as landlord i dont know who lives in my property.
This responsibility can be passed over to the agent as long as you have it in writing and keep a copy.
You have passed over the responsibility to the agent if you are renting via them and have it clearly stated in the contract. Thats part of what you pay the fees for..They are responsible but as many take short cuts and not up to the job I would ask to see the paper work they have on my potential tenants to satisfy myself that it all looks in order. I am amazed how many landlords don't do this and end up with problems further down the road.Agents are keen to rent as they get paid for it, no tenant no payment its that basic. Also with agents stating they are members of this or that body means nothing.
That would make sense but apparently the new data protection legislation would prevent me from seeing their personal information. And i certainly cannot trust ymthe agent for the very same reason you gave. Wil make sure there is a clause in the agreement with the agent.
If the tenant agrees for you to see the info then you can see it. Don't let the agent use the data protection as an excuse.
This is concerning and confusing.No one, not even a lettings agent on a fully managed service, can divest a landlord of their legal responsibilities. The buck always stops with the landlord.Therefore, the answer is to register for GDPR yourself, and then you will be able to view the tenant's details.I will ask solicitor David Smith to comment to clarify this.
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
Firstly your agent is talking a load of nonsense. The new GDPR does not change the position on letting you see references etc at all.
I assume you are referrring here to the Right to Rent. The obligation to do this is yours unless you have agreed in writing with your agent that they will do the checks. If you have (and you need to make sure it’s in writing) then you are not responsible if they get it wrong.