While reference and credit checks are widely available through lettings agents, some landlords may prefer to conduct their own checks. Credit checks really should be done professionally but it’s understandable if a landlord does not want to shell out to check references. We should note, however, that Rentify do not charge the excessive fees of many traditional agents for either of these services; in fact our reference and credit checks are free and unlimited with Rentify Management. Still, if you are conducting your own reference check, it’s always useful to get a different take to be as prepared as possible. Dodgy tenants with dark pasts are more likely to target private landlords who conduct the pre-tenancy arrangements themselves. And even if you use an agent, you should have a say in what information they are getting. So here are some of our tips!
1.) Get the potential tenant’s permission to conduct all the checks you require. This can be done in the tenancy application form, which should be signed by both parties. Obvious but essential not to overlook!
2.) Ask to look at their past 3 bank statements for their current account. Not only should they provide evidence for their address, but they’ll give you an idea of whether the potential tenant is in credit, has salary going in and has been paying out rent for any current or previous properties they claim to have been renting.
3.) Check employers out at company’s house – never just assume they exist – and get freelancers to show evidence of contracts which will provide sufficient income for the next 6 months.
4.) Do not go on the word of the previous landlord alone: they may simply want to get rid of the tenant. Go to the landlord before that one too.
5.) If you are suspicious that the previous ‘landlord’ is just the potential tenant’s friend, call up under the guise of asking if they have any properties available. You’ll soon uncover any fakes.
6.) Make sure any guarantors are homeowners. You can check this with the land registry office.
7.) Trust your gut feeling. Even if everything checks out, if you think you’ll be constantly worrying about the tenant, then ask yourself whether it’s worth going ahead.