Ensuring Compliance in the UK: A Landlord’s Guide to Requesting Tenant References
As a landlord in the UK, you have a duty to protect both yourself and your tenants by ensuring that your rental decisions are compliant. This means that when considering a prospective tenant, you must take the necessary steps to ensure that they are suitable for your property.
What is a Tenant Reference?
A tenant reference is a document, usually provided by a former landlord or employer, which outlines a tenant’s rental history or employment record. It can provide valuable insight into a prospective tenant’s reliability and trustworthiness, and is therefore an essential part of the tenant screening process.
Why is it Necessary to Request References?
Requesting references is a crucial part of the tenant screening process, as it allows landlords to mitigate the risk of choosing a ‘bad tenant’. A ‘bad tenant’ is someone who is unreliable, does not pay rent on time, or causes damage to the property. By obtaining references, a landlord can be confident that their tenant is suitable for the property and will not cause any problems down the line.
Why is it Necessary to Obtain Permission from the Tenant?
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, a tenant must give their permission before a landlord can request references from a former landlord or employer. This is to ensure that the tenant’s personal information is not shared without their consent. Therefore, when requesting references, it is essential that a landlord obtains the tenant’s written permission before proceeding.
Step by Step Guide to Requesting Tenant References
1. Before you begin the tenant screening process, make sure that the prospective tenant has provided you with the relevant documents, such as proof of identity, proof of income, and references.
2. Once you have received all the necessary documents, you should review them and make sure that they are valid.
3. Once you have reviewed the documents, you should obtain written permission from the prospective tenant to request references from their former landlord or employer. This must be done in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
4. You should then send a Tenant Reference Request form to the tenant’s former landlord or employer. This form should include the tenant’s details, as well as details of the property they are applying for.
5. Once the reference has been returned, you should review it carefully and decide whether or not the tenant is suitable for your property.
If you are looking for a reliable and easy-to-use Tenant Reference Request form, you can find one below. This document comes with an “Employer Reference Request” letter template that you can customise for your exact needs. With our document, you can be confident that you have the information you need to make a safe and compliant decision.