🕵️♂️ Tenant referencing, what to look for! 👍
What makes a good tenant? This is a never-ending question and one which will vary between individuals. Sometimes landlords have their own specific requests for who their ideal tenant is, which you may have to delicately decline from time to time.
Today we’re trying to offer some guidance of what to look for in tenant referencing and some red flags!
The first thing to do is consider the referencing company you are using. In our experience, the questions referencing companies ask can be very limited! Sometimes only asking to confirm who the tenant is, whether the rent is up to date (overlooking any possible previous arrears!) and if they have looked after the property (which you don’t know for certain until check out). Is this really the thorough check you told the landlord you’d be doing when you did their appraisal?!
What should references obtain?
🆔 ID check, not Right to Rent, but formal identification to ensure they are who they say they are! This is usually a photo ID and utility bill or bank statement.
📈 Affordability calculation this shows whether or not they can actually afford the amount they’re offering on a property.
💳 Credit check to make sure they’re not in debt, haven’t been declared bankrupt, checks their address history and ensures doesn’t have a poor credit history, or a CCJ.
👩💼 Confirmation of employment to verify stable employment and income.
📝 Previous landlord reference to check they’ve behaved appropriately at their previous property.
📋 Guarantor referencing as required.
If you really want to look after your landlords, and your property manager’s, best interest you could also complete:
📲 Lifestyle profiling this is a check on other aspects of their lifestyle usually via social media. Having said this, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use this as a reason not to let a property to an applicant so likely best avoided.
🤨 Gut instinct we’ll talk a little more about this in the ‘Red Flags’ section!
Sometimes it’s very difficult to really know who is going to be a good tenant, and who’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes. In the worst cases you may be presented with professional fraudsters looking to rent the property for various elicit purposes. Here are some red flags to look out for:
🚩 Offering multiple months’ rent up front, but meeting affordability criteria
🚩 Being hard to contact
🚩 Refusing certain information
🚩 Asking for no inspections, although unlikely to happen until they’ve moved in
🚩 Exaggerated negotiations over rent, or acting suspiciously about handing over a deposit
🚩 Demanding to move in an unreasonable timeframe
These aren’t exhaustive, but hopefully a help! What's the most audacious thing someone has tried, and failed, to get past you? Or what referencing works best for you?
If you’re interested in automating maintenance to free up time for your property managers and save money for your landlords, you can book a demo of the Help me Fix video triage service here.