Referencing your tenant
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What is referencing?
Tenant referencing is a broad term that refers to the checks that a landlord or agent perform when assessing the suitability of a potential tenant. Depending on the landlord, this can range from a simple credit check to a comprehensive background check on any prospective tenants.
Why reference tenants?
Referencing is one of the most worthwhile things you can do as a landlord to protect the value of your investment. Almost all tenants do pay their rent on time and look after the property. If your tenant is one of the small minority who don't however, it can be intensely frustrating and expensive for landlords. For particularly bad tenants this may even require you to seek possession; a process that can take months to resolve.
By referencing your prospective tenants before you grant a tenancy you maximise the chances of getting one of the many responsible tenants and minimise the risks to you and your property.
How should I go about referencing my tenants?
This will depend on the level of involvement you want to have in the referencing, as well as the level of detail you want to get about your tenants. Many landlords are happy with a simple credit check to ensure the tenant has no outstanding County Court Judgements. Others may want to ask previous landlords or current employers if the details the tenant provided are accurate. Those landlords with rent guarantee insurance may be required to complete thorough referencing to comply with the insurance conditions.
Having someone else reference your tenants
The most common way to reference your tenants is to employ someone to perform the reference for you. Whether it is your letting agent or a referencing service, they will take on the responsibility of performing a reference for you. This can include contacting previous landlords or employers as well ensuring the tenant can afford to pay the rent for the property.
NRLA's Full Tenant Referencing service offers speed, accuracy and attention to detail. Each application is manually assessed by trained personnel and we do not use automated approval systems. If you prefer to obtain your own references our Basic Check gives you instant credit check results enabling you to make fast and informed letting decisions.
Performing the reference yourself
If you are performing the reference yourself it will be up to you to decide how in-depth your investigations are. There are certain things you are likely to want if you are to properly assess your tenants however:
The rest of this page includes guidance on referencing prospective tenants yourself as well as a number of tools to help you do this. This includes templates for reference requests and a tenancy application form to help you collect the information you need. It also covers guidance on what to do when your tenant may struggle to provide references.