We have said before elsewhere in this blog how we understand that a landlord may want to rent out a property as quickly as possible to generate income. To this end it is tempting to bypass the usual failsafe procedures when it comes to choosing tenants. You may have it on good authority that a prospective tenant is suitable and so you may decide to not bother with collecting references. This however, although it may save you precious time in the short term, may prove extremely costly for you in the long term.
Why should you get references?
References are in the main there to provide surety concerning a tenant’s ability to keep paying the rent, adhere to the tenancy agreement and abide by the rules concerning the upkeep of the property. You also need to know that the tenant is who they say they are. These are a landlord’s primary concerns when it comes to allowing strangers to reside in a property he or she owns. In many cases it will be easy enough to obtain references by contacting the tenant’s previous landlord or letting agent but this is not always possible for any number of reasons. Perhaps the tenant may have lived abroad or they may be first time renters. In cases such as these some landlords are happy to rent to tenants following a satisfactory credit check.
It is in a landlord’s best interests to make sure they get the right tenant for their property; that is one who is going to pay the rent on time, every month, and who is not going to leave the property in an expensive state of disrepair. When a tenant defaults on their rent or proves to be the kind who resorts to litigation at the drop of a hat this can cause a considerable risk to a landlord’s investment and bank account! It would be wonderful to live in a world where we could take everyone at face value and trust their word but unfortunately this is not the case and there are too many rogues out there ready to take advantage where they can. This is why it is essential for a landlord to take a little extra time to conduct checks and obtain references.
How to get references
Obtaining a reference for your prospective tenant is a relatively simple process. You can either, as we said earlier, ask a previous landlord or agent for a reference or start from scratch with a tenancy application form.
The tenant should complete the application form themselves as this gives you permission to approach previous landlords and to carry out credit checks. The tenant should provide proof of identity, of previous addresses and in the case of non-EU nationals of their entitlement to work in the UK. This is an extra layer of protection should the tenant leave still owing you money as it can provide a means of tracing them. Obtaining proof of all the above can also provide evidence to support eviction proceedings should these be necessary.
If you’re not sure how to go about getting references or you don’t have the time, Atwood can do this for you. With the benefit of experience, our friendly professional team are here to help take the headache out of becoming a landlord, and we may even be able to provide guaranteed rent for your property too!