As if you needed any more proof that landlordism is the scum of the earth (sorry not sorry), a Sydney comedian and TikToker has revealed the wild response he got when he asked a real estate agent for a landlord reference.

Now if you’ve ever experienced the epic highs and lows — mostly lows — of renting, you’ve without a doubt had to get a reference when applying for properties.

A good and normal system we have! Where you basically have to beg someone to live in their spare house! While knowing that as someone under the age of 50 you will never be able to buy one (1) house of your own!

Getting a rental reference is a bit like calling up your shitty ex-manager ‘cos you desperately need a third referee or Seek won’t let you apply for a job. It means your current landlord gets to tell your future landlord exactly what a great/average/terrible tenant you’ve been.

But as this TikTok made me realise, there are no landlord references. Landlords don’t have to prove to tenants that they’re decent, respectful human beings. You just sort of have to deal with them and if they’re crap then good luck.

Enter TikToker and comedian Tom Cashman (@cashman.tom). He’d applied to rent an apartment and been approved. Then, Cashman asked the real estate agent if there were any references of the landlord from previous tenants.

Honestly, this is a fucking baller move and 10 out of 10 way to figure out if a future landlord is a raging anal blister instead of a human being.

@tom.cashman Reply to @focusforte Landlord Reference request update #renting #sydney #rentalproperty #realestateagent #fy #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – cashman.tom

Cashman explained that after about four days he hadn’t heard from the real estate agency. So he followed up. The person who replied said that she didn’t understand the question about a landlord reference.

Cashman responded: “No worries. I was asking whether the owner would provide a reference written by a previous tenant of theirs recommending them as a landlord.

“I’ve found this is an effective way to find out if an owner is good to their tenants and it seems appropriate as I’ve already provided a few references to them.”

As a side note, what this whole exchange reveals is the massive power imbalance between landlords and renters. Tenants are tripping head over heels to prove that they deserve to live in a house that maybe has like, one ceiling fan and a rat infestation instead of a cockroach infestation if you’re lucky.

Meanwhile, landlords don’t have to do anything to prove that they’ll fill their end of the bargain. And that’s literally just sending over a plumber if your pipes break and maybe, possibly doing something about the black mould infestation in the living room.

Anyway, back to Cashman. The real estate agency said the owner wouldn’t provide a reference because they’re not in contact with the previous tenants.

His response was self-described as “cheeky”.

“I assume the owner or the real estate [agent] would have their previous tenants’ email addresses,” he replied.

“So just to confirm, the owner doesn’t have any previous tenants they could get in touch with to write a positive reference for them?”

In response, the real estate agent said that the landlord wouldn’t be providing a reference and ended the email with “all the best with your property search”.

According to Cashman, in the same minute that email was sent, his application to rent the apartment was withdrawn. According to the email screenshot in his TikTok, the real estate agency said that they had received notice from him that he’d like to withdraw his application.

But Cashman says he didn’t withdraw his application at all. So, he emailed asking whether his application was withdrawn because he’d asked for a reference

“The owner prefers a long-term lease period,” the real estate agency replied. But Cashman said that wasn’t an issue when he applied for the property.

As Cardi B would say: “that’s suspicious…that’s weird.”

Cashman still reckons it’s a good idea to ask for a landlord reference despite his experience. Personally, I’m deffo going to start taking his advice.

“I think asking for a landlord reference is a good idea and if we all do it, it could become quite normalised,” he said.

“However if they can’t find someone to give them a good reference, I’d advise against rubbing their noses in it.”

Fair advice there, let’s make 2022 the year we normalise landlord references being the norm. It’s the least they can do.

Image: TikTok / @cashman.tom / The Simpsons / FOX