Understanding Reference Checks - Renters Advice

Understanding Reference Checks - Renters Advice

Reference checks are something that seems to be dreaded, both by landlords and tenants alike.  
There is a lot of confusion and misconception surrounding the topic of reference checks, all of which is unjust. In reality, reference checks are a relatively simple process that can be completely stress-free, giving the fact that both sides know some crucial information.  
In this article, we will be going through and exploring the topic of reference checks to hopefully give you a much better understanding as to what they are, as well as why they aren't such a troublesome task after all.


Tenant Referencing: An explanation

To begin, we must first understand what the process of tenant referencing is. Tenant referencing is a process in which a would-be/potential tenant is tested to prove if they will be a good tenant.  
Of course, this process is extremely important due to the fact that if a landlord chooses an unpredictable tenant, it can quickly turn into a nightmare situation.  
During this referencing process, the tenant will provide evidence to prove that they will be a good and responsible tenant, which can be done in a variety of ways.  

In order to perform a reference check on a potential tenant, the landlord can either take it upon themselves to do this or outsource it to a company that specialises in reference checks.  

Either way is fine, with both having their advantages and downfalls.  
For example, landlords who conduct reference checks by themselves may feel more like they have more power over the situation, and whichever tenant they choose will have been screened by them. Although, if said reference check was conducted by a specialised company, they may have been able to have seen something that the landlord would not have due to the extra experience and expertise.  


How to Carry Out (Or Get Through) Reference Checks 

Like we mentioned in the section above, landlords can either choose to perform a reference check themselves, or opt to go with a specialist company to do it for them.  

If you decide to opt to go through a company, then you don’t need to worry. Everything will be taken care of once you have reached out to a specialised company and they will inform you whether a tenant is a good choice after performing multiple background checks.  
Although, landlords who would prefer to conduct the reference process themselves, we have you covered too.  
The first thing you will want to do is have a quick conversation, either in person or on the phone, just to get the general essence of a potential tenant's reliability. At this point, you want to ask any essential questions you may have such as if they drink alcohol or use drugs.  
After a screening test, you will want to ask for a variety of documents such as credit checks, bank statements, an employer reference, previous landlord reference, proof of identity, and most importantly, a right to rent certification. This is a document that confirms the potential tenant has the right to live in the UK. 

If you don’t conduct these tests or the tenant fails the criteria and you still decide to let them partake in renting your home, you can face charges and fines.  

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How long Does a Reference Check Take? 

There is no set time for how long a reference check can take. For some, it may take weeks in order to establish enough trust to get past the screening stage and provide the essential documents. For others, it could be done in a day. 
Although, if you opt to get this process done by a professional it will usually end up being much quicker as well as less troublesome.  


Reference checks can seem like a tricky subject tackle, but once broken down to their raw materials, it becomes clear that things are simpler than they seem.  
If you want to get expert advice or have any further questions about renters checks, or are interested in investing in a property in the UK, do check out TRPE- The Real Property Experts and get in contact with us. We have decades of experience when it comes to all things housing-related, and we would be more than happy to help.


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