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Tenant Referencing: Everything You Need To Know

A big part of successfully renting out a property is finding a tenant. No surprise there. But it's important to find the right one. A tenant who'll respect you and your property. And pay the rent on time.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Most landlords will have a tale to tell about tenants who've been less than reliable when it comes to paying the rent. Or who cause damage to the property. Or both.

The importance of tenant referencing

Tenant reference checks are your best defence against unruly and unreliable renters. And, whilst you can never 100% guarantee someone won't turn into the tenant from hell there are steps you can take to lessen the odds.

How to reference your tenants

So tenant referencing is essential. But which references should you ask for?

  • Identity and proof of address. Ask for photo ID. A driving licence for example. This can also serve as proof of address but also ask to see at least one utility bill.
  • Do a credit check. You can only do this with your tenant's permission. Your online letting agent can do these checks for you.
  • Personal and professional references. These should include an employer's reference. But make sure it states the tenant is permanently employed and not on a zero hours contract. And, as we discuss below, a reference from a previous landlord is essential.

    Don't forget if you're a landlord in England you must complete a right to rent check.

    Why you should reference your tenants

    Referencing is the only way you can try and get to know your tenant before they sign on the dotted line. While no referencing checks are perfect they do allow you to form a picture of the person who'll be living in your property. Most tenants will expect to provide references. They also know you'll carry out credit and employment checks.

    Possibly the most valuable reference you can get is one from a previous landlord. After all, someone who has already proven themselves to be a good tenant is likely to remain so. On the other side of the coin, a previously disruptive or unreliable renter simply isn't worth taking a risk on. If your tenant can't or won't provide a reference from their previous landlord it's worth asking yourself why.

    But do make sure you follow up on all the references your tenant provides. It's easy to take testimonials and references at face value. But it doesn’t take long to make a phone call and verify the reference. And it can save a lot of aggravation further down the line.

    MakeUrMove and landlord support

    You know tenant referencing is absolutely necessary. But it can be time-consuming and it's often something landlords don't want to be involved with. We understand that and can reference your tenant for you. As part of your Good Landlord subscription, we’ll provide free reference checks.

    Private landlords can find tenants fast by listing their property with MakeUrMove the online letting platform bringing landlords and tenants together.

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