Landlords, do you really know your tenants? Now, we’re not asking you if you know the ins and outs of their entire life story but we are asking if you know these individuals who are living in your property? 

At the end of the day you are entrusting not only your property, but also your worth to a group of individuals. If you're lucky, this group may stay around a while building a trusting and communicative relationship. However more often than not, because London property is what it is, you will have different groups filter in and out, year to year.

As an agent, we want nothing more than to help build this trusting relationship. We want to provide you, the landlord with tenants who will respect you and your property, but we also want to find these individuals not a house but a home. Now to ensure all of this, efficient referencing must be done to ensure the authenticity of your tenants. Here at PropertyTime we conduct thorough referencing to ensure that each individual qualifies for each individual property. So what are these processes? What information should we be requesting from tenants to ensure an authentic and trustworthy tenancy? Below we have outlined what references and information should be gathered at each stage of a tenancy because it is not something that should be limited to the move in stage.

Prior To Agreeing An Offer

Now this stage is quite crucial to the start of a tenancy and not just for obvious reasons. Before an applicant sees the property, we like to get a “snapshot” you could say, that allows us to gain an idea of the kind of individuals we are meeting. Some examples of questions you should ask of your applicants are:
- Are they full time and permanently employed
- What are their collective annual incomes
- Do they have pets or children
- When are they looking to move
These simple but crucial questions help us see the suitability of an applicant to your property. It also provides great data allowing us to see the kinds of individuals who rent in different areas. For example, we have found creative individuals tend to look for properties in the East and students tend to look for properties in the greater North West. But by asking these kinds of questions, we can then take the applicant down different routes– examples of this are if they do not work and are students, we can confirm if they have UK based guarantors etc. It is important that applicants are aware of everything before going into a viewing, it makes the offer process much faster but also more genuine.
As expected the viewing is always imperative. Tenants get to see the property and we get to grasp their attitude and persona. Meeting applicants face to face will always solidify the relationship as well.

Once An Offer Is Agreed

This is the stage that we are all familiar with. It is the standard and what is always expected. Many agents reference in their own way, some will delegate the work to referencing companies however here at PropertyTime we conduct all the referencing ourselves. In doing this, we gain the trust of the tenants as they are handing over personal documents and are comforted by knowing exactly who they are giving them to. So what kind information should you as a landlord expect to receive (please note the below references tailor to each individual):
- ID: This should be a copy of a valid passport or for any UK residents a driver’s license is acceptable.
- Visa/ Biometric Residence Permit: In a previous post, we mentioned the ‘Right to Rent’ legislation that was being trialled in parts of the UK. These laws will potentially be put in place here in London, as on the 11th October the bill that included the Right to Rent scheme was presented to Parliament. To read the post click here: Are You Ready For The “Right To Rent”?
This means that every tenant must legally be allowed to rent here in the UK. To ensure this is met any individual who is not a UK/EU resident should present a copy of their Visa or for students, their biometric residence permit.
- 3 – 6 months of bank statements: This allows us to gain perspective into how tenants are managing their accounts. It also confirms rental and employment payments.
- Employer Reference
- If they have worked at the above employer for less than a year, always get a Previous Employer Reference
- Landlord Reference
- Student Reference
- Character Reference

- Accountant Reference (usually for those who are self employed)

We ensure that all references come from a viable source, such as a HR department and from individuals who have a long and lasting relationship. We will also organise a check-in inventory report to be conducted at the property, which is a certified and registered evidence of your properties condition. Deposit Schemes – Here To Serve & Protect details further importance of an inventory reports purpose. 

Throughout & At The End Of The Tenancy

Now throughout a tenancy, there are often tenant changeovers which means we get new tenants in to replace those who leave. Again, we complete the referencing process to ensure that they as an individual but also this new group continue to qualify for the property.
It is also crucial that you monitor the property throughout the tenancy in case your tenants require a reference in future. This means making note of all rental payments, if payments are made late and if so, how often, and also noting condition of the property (can be done with a check out inventory report).

Referencing is often taken for granted, however it is one of the most important parts of tenancy therefore it should be taken very seriously and conducted very carefully. Always read through the references sent to you and communicate with your agent. We are here to help and ensure that everything runs as efficiently and effectively as possible; remember, we all have the same goal at the end of the day. 

As a PropertyTime Landlord, you will already be benefiting from our referencing processes. However, if you have any further questions or if you are looking to rent through us, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.