Paul Routledge, the man behind the tenant blacklisting company Landlord Referencing, has been defending his vile activities on twitter today where he openly mocked the homelessness his company could inflict on vulnerable people.
Routledge claims his service is not a blacklist, but merely a way to put landlords in touch with each other so they can share information about their tenant’s ‘lifestyles’. Yet for a fee landlords can run a check on a potential tenant and receive a report back (PDF) declaring them a “Bad Tenant” with their previous landlord’s details included to find out more.
The company boast that this can be used to discover information on the tenant’s lifestyle, including whether they ‘abuse’ drugs or alcohol along with any details of criminal behaviour. Clearly landlords could share far more information than this should they choose, including information on tenants who insist on their rights or who have had a dispute with their landlord. Tenants could be branded as trouble makers behind the scenes and without their knowledge simply for standing up for themselves.
Only today Paul Routledge appeared to suggest he supported tenants being excluded from housing due to their political beliefs.
Elsewhere Routledge whinges about political correctness and has a weird obsession with attacking the homelessness charity Shelter. There is clearly a political, as well as an economic, motivation behind his grubby company.
Even landlords themselves should beware of this service. Those who share the kind of smears about tenants which Routledge encourages may end up in the court at some point, with legal challenges possible under libel and privacy laws, along with the law covering “negligent misstatement”. This is the legal protection which can be used by former employees who have been given false and negative references. The courts may well find this applies to landlords as well should a challenge ever be brought before them. Landlords should ask themselves if they can afford to be part of an expensive legal test case before they start spreading information about tenant’s lifestyles.
Tenants have been treated like shit for too long by grasping landlords who think renting out properties is little more than free money and are happy to skirt the laws protecting tenants. The all too common – and quite possibly illegal – demand of No DSS , meaning landlords who will not accept tenants on benefits, already excludes many people from a home. Now tenant blacklists can be added to the ever growing number of ways in which landlords seek to increase the profits they leech from our communities. Homelessness charities like Shelter could do worse than having their lawyers check over every fine detail of these discriminatory practices and help tenants bring test cases if possible.
Landlords ganging up to exclude tenants from the housing market, all egged on by a profiteering bigot like Paul Routledge, should be resisted every bit as fiercely as the employment blacklists which have destroyed so many lives. It’s time to get creative and expose these parasites in all ways possible and bring this practice to a swift end.
And in the meantime you can tell Landlord Referencing exactly what you think of them on twitter @Paul_Rout and @LandlordRef as well as on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Landlord-Referencing-Services/114147758659902
They also have a list of sponsors, including several credit agencies, which can be found at: http://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk/landlord-services/
Watch the video where Routledge explains how his system could be used to blacklist people with mental health conditions.
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid