A Guide to Tenant Referencing

Ending up with a tenant who does not pay their rent is every landlord’s worst nightmare. There are some easy steps that you can take before acquiring the tenant, which could minimise the risk, save you some time, stress, and money in the long run.

When you use a letting agent like us, we can take this stress out of your hands. You can find out more about our full property management services by clicking here.

Keep reading to find out more about tenant referencing.

Meet the prospective tenant or chat with them by phone

Ask them why they are moving, how long they want to rent for, who will be occupying the property and what they do for a living. From there, you will be able to build up a picture of who they are and whether they are the kind of tenant you are looking for.

Collect references

You need to know that your tenant will be able to pay the monthly rent and has a good track record as a responsible tenant. Always ask your tenant’s permission before taking up references.

You should ask them for:

  • Proof of identity and their current address – utility bills/ bank statements will confirm their address.
  • A work reference – their employer will be able to verify how much they earn and their length/ terms of employment at the company. Make sure that it is recent.
  • Landlord references – it is a good idea to ask for references from at least one previous landlord.

Complete a credit check

A credit check will allow you to assess whether the tenant can afford to rent the property and has a good credit history. If you do not want to go down the credit check route, seeing your tenant’s last 3-6 months’ worth of bank statements will give you an idea of their ability to pay.

Right to rent check (obligatory)

As a landlord, you have a legal obligation to carry out Right to Rent checks on all adults (aged 18+) who are planning to live in your property. This is regardless of what you believe their nationality is and must include everybody who will be living in the property, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement.

To do this, you will need to see the tenant’s relevant documentation in person and retain copies. Relevant documentation includes a passport/ ID card, driver’s license, a letter from higher education establishment and/ or a birth certificate.

The full list of eligible documents can be found on the government’s website.

After your tenants have moved in

Arrange to visit the property within a few weeks of starting the tenancy to check that your tenants are the people that you have rented it to and that they are looking after the place. Give your tenants notice that you intend to do this, do not just drop in unannounced.

Looking for Commercial Property? Meet the specialists...