What are the First Steps in Tenant Referencing?


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Tenancy referencing involves a different number of steps towards checking the history of a tenant; residency checks, employment and checks, and CCJ records.

The first steps in tenancy referencing would be:

Collection of ID and proof of address: Prospective tenants would be asked to provide their passport (recent and original if possible), working visas for non-UK residents, proof of current address (council tax receipts or utility bills receipts from within the last three months). Confirming the identity of prospective tenants is crucial to landlords and letting agents, nobody wants to rent their property to fraudsters or criminals.

Collection of holding deposits and holding deposit forms: A holding deposit would cover the cost of referencing in case the tenant fails the referencing stage or decides not to take the property. It is also a way of checking if prospective tenants are willing to have referencing checks done on them.

Holding deposits are usually returned after tenancy agreements are signed, or a some may be returned if the tenant pulls out. It is best for both parties to be fully aware of the terms applied when making holding deposits that would cover referencing.

What Other Steps Are Involved in Tenant Referencing?

The next steps would be credit checks, employer and income checks, references from previous landlords, and a right to rent check. Some landlords also do criminal background checks.

What do Criminal Background Checks Involve?

The criminal history of UK citizens is held by The Disclosure and Barring Service, or DBS. Landlords or letting agents may want to work with an umbrella body that has regular dealings with the DBS.

The tenant would need to fill an application form and provide valid identification details. DBS checks take about 8 weeks. At the end of such checks, the tenant would receive certificates of their criminal history, which they may choose to show the landlord after a request is made.

What Happens If a Tenant Fails the Referencing?

Failing tenant referencing does not always mean the property can not be let to the tenant involved. The next step for such tenant would be to get a guarantor. A guarantor would be liable for any costs incurred and unpaid by the tenant during the tenancy. The guarantor would have to read the tenancy agreement, and then sign an agreement accepting any costs incurred and unpaid by the guarantee.


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