12 FAQs About Tenant Referencing Answered!

  • Posted Date 15/04/2019
  • Posted Byadmin


Renting out your home is probably one of the smartest financial decisions you will ever make. No matter the status of the housing market, there will always be a demand for rental properties – and the scarcity of them makes it an appealing business that can guarantee a steady income for you.

However, your success as a landlord lies not to how easy you can find a renter, but rather to finding someone who pays the rent on time and cares about your property as if their own. But, while there’s no way to guarantee that you will never come across a rogue tenant, performing a tenant reference check can reduce the likelihood of having issues down the line.

If you’re wondering what goes into the tenancy process, Tenant Find, the trusted letting agent in the UK answers 12 of the most frequently asked questions about tenant referencing.

1. What is tenant referencing?

Tenant referencing is a screening process that helps you find out if a potential renter:

  • is whom he says he is
  • has the ability to pay the rent on time
  • is reliable enough to entrust your home to

It provides you the information you need to help you make more informed decisions – whether or not to let your property to a potential tenant – and even protect yourself against renters who can drain your profits down the line.

2. Who does the check?

Unless you rather do the tenant reference check yourself, you can hire a letting agent to assess prospective tenants on your behalf. Most letting agents offer a full management service that assists you all throughout the process, from listing your property to finding the right tenant to rent your home.

3. What is checked in tenant referencing?

  • Proof of Identity
  • Right to Rent Certification

NOTE: Starting in February 2016, all landlords in England are required to conduct right to rent checks. It is to ensure that a potential tenant has the legal rights to live in the UK.

  • National Insurance Number
  • Proof of Residency (e.g. utility bills for the last three months)
  • Bank Statements
  • Employer Reference
  • Previous Landlord Reference
  • Guarantor Reference
  • Credit Check

Refer to this guide to tenant referencing to further understand what’s involved in the process.

4. How long does tenant referencing take?

A full referencing can be accomplished in as fast as 48 hours. But, there are some factors that may cause a delay in the process including how fast the parties involved – applicants and referees – respond to the reference check.

5. Who pays for tenant referencing?

In the majority of cases, tenants pay for reference checks. But, you can offer to refund the fees or deduct it from the monthly rent if the tenant passes the checks and proceeds with renting the property. However, this setup may still change if the proposed Tenant Fee Ban will be enforced.

6. What is tenant fee ban?

The UK government is pushing to implement a ban on fees charged by letting agents and landlords to tenants. These fees include anything that a tenant is required to pay for the grant or renewal of tenancy including but not limited to:

  • Guarantor reference fees
  • Credit check fees
  • Inventory fees
  • Admin fees
  • Professional cleaning fee

It seems the ban will be introduced sometime this year.

7. How much does tenant referencing cost?

The cost of tenant referencing can differ depending on a number of factors such as the amount your letting agent charges you, as well as the level of details provided in the report. Nevertheless, you should expect to pay anywhere from £5 to £100.

Questions to Ask Yourself

As a landlord, your goal is to generate as many returns as possible, and often it takes meeting the needs and expectations of your tenant. Here are some other concerns you need to settle prior to renting out your property.

8. Should you allow tenants to keep pets?

Allowing pets into your property comes with its own benefits and downsides. Although it means placing your home at greater risk for damage, it can also mean higher profit for you.

A study by the firepaw.org shows that there is scarcity for pet-friendly properties, it is why renters with pets are willing to pay a premium to compensate the additional costs of permitting animals.

9. Should you let tenants decorate?

One survey shows that about 50% of tenants are willing to pay a higher rent if they’re allowed to redecorate. In fact, they said they’re ready to shell out at least £150 to redecorate. It only means letting your tenants get a hand on your property lets you tap on this opportunity and have a happier renter who is likely to stay for longer.

10. What do I do with the abandoned possessions?

When a renter leaves possessions in your property, it is quite in order to pack them up and place them somewhere else to re-let your home. But, you probably don’t want them taking up space in your home for long and in this case, you can probably either sell or throw them away. But, you can only do this after you’ve carried out the procedure set by The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1997.

The act mandates that if you’re looking to dispose of goods belonging to someone else, you must first write to the owner for permission to remove the goods. The letter should indicate:

  • What the items are
  • Where they are being stored, and
  • How long they will be kept before disposing or selling them

A 14-day allowance should be a reasonable period of time for the renter to collect the items. But, if he fails to respond to the letter, you can then do whatever you please with the items.

11. Who foots the bill for repairs?

In a rental situation, it’s not always clear who shoulders the costs of repairs. There will be times that it will be your responsibility as the landlord, and other times it will be the tenant’s – and it will depend on the damage in question.

If the item that needs repair affects the minimum standard for the property to be considered habitable, then you might be required to fix it out of your own pocket. It should include the:

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Heating systems
  • Pests

Nevertheless, if the damage is made by the tenant, and is not considered a natural wear and tear, then you may use the security deposit you initially collected prior to the tenancy to cover the repair costs.

12. Should I hire a letting agent?

A professional tenant referencing service provides you with a comprehensive report that allows you to look into your prospective tenants. If you decide to entrust the process to a letting agent, you can have a greater peace of mind by lowering the risks of having a disastrous tenancy in the long run. Most letting agents offer different tiers of service so you can find one that is tailored to your needs.

Contact your letting agent today!

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