Q. I am moving to the UK with work and looking to rent a property for at least 12 months but am having a real nightmare with the company that is carrying out the references. I understand this is a completely independent specialist company to the agent that I have agreed the let with but honestly it doesn’t seem to matter what information I give them they are still not satisfied, it’s now got to the point where it could jeopardise my move in date. Why are these people so fussy?
A. Bottom line is they need to be thorough. You may be a perfectly good citizen but there are an awful lot of prospective tenants out there that do not pay their rent which is obviously one of the main reasons why these types of references are carried out to ensure that our landlords do receive rental payments each month. The levels of tenancy referencing vary, with the most basic referencing check offering simple information, such as the prospective tenant’s credit rating and information on any adverse credit history, including county court judgements, bankruptcy orders and voluntary arrangement (debt owed to a third party under a special agreement). However despite the temptation for agents to go with the cheaper basic option I would always advise that Agents consider the fully comprehensive service, which is likely to be what you are currently being subjected to in order to minimise their Landlords exposure to risk. This service also verifies the applicant’s employment history, establishes if the applicant can afford to pay the rent, and will flag up a weak reference from the previous landlord. By not undertaking a more robust check agents are seriously exposing their landlords to an increased risk of accepting a bad tenant. Referencing properly at the onset not only ensures that we provide our landlords with the best tenants it also minimises future issues that could potentially have financial and legal consequences. I often have to take the brunt end of a disgruntled tenant winging about the referencing system but considering that you are being given the keys to your landlords assets I honestly think it’s only fair that you are qualified as a suitable tenant, affordability is important not just for the landlord but also to prevent you as a tenant from over stretching yourself financially.