3.9 Tenant References
Landlords should interview prospective tenants carefully, so as to assist in
choosing one who will be trustworthy and reliable. Taking-up references
from a prospective tenant’s current or previous landlord, employer and
bank, can help to inform the tenant selection process.
Some landlords might also use a tenant referencing service, which will
make checks and enquiries of a prospective tenant on a landlord’s behalf.
Many companies provide services such as this. They can be found online or
via insurers or landlord associations.
As part of the pre-tenancy referencing/ checks, it is suggested landlords
ask the successful tenant to provide details of a close family member
or friend who can be contacted in an emergency or if the tenant leaves
Many agents, and some landlords, ask tenants to pay the fee for using the
referencing service. If this is the case, it should be made clear to the tenant
that the fee will be non-refundable once the landlord has paid it to the
referencing service. Many referencing services turn applications round in
three days or so.
In some niche markets, such as letting to students, it is difficult to obtain
references because this will be the first time that a tenant has lived away
from home. To offset this risk, some landlords ask for guarantors where a
parent or friend guarantees to meet the cost of unpaid rent and/or damage up to a given threshold if this is not met by the tenant.