Whether you’re a seasoned renter or not, one thing you’ll definitely need to do is go through the referencing process. This can often feel like a major hurdle to get over and most people don’t even know what’s involved and why they are carried out.
Below, we take a look at the tenant referencing process and highlight the key things you need to know, showing you how you can be better prepared for the process by being pre-qualified.
What’s involved in tenant referencing?
A landlord or letting agency will want to check whether you’re a suitable tenant for the property you’re asking to rent. They’ll want to know that you can pay the rent on time, that you'll be able to afford the rent for the length of your tenancy, and that you are generally a well-behaved renter. The process of checking these things is known as tenant screening, referencing or vetting.
So what exactly is checked? The most common things that are checked are;
- Your credit history
- Your employment history including the details of your current employment to ensure what you say you earn and what you actually earn tally up
- Previous landlord’s references to establish what kind of tenant you are
- Your affordability levels - checking you have the funds or means of earning the funds to meet the rental commitment
It’s important to bear in mind that tenant screening services can vary. However, these are some of the main things letting agents and landlords will want to know.
Why is it important?
A landlord’s top priority will be protecting their rental property. So, they’re going to want to safeguard against tenants who are irresponsible, or unwilling to maintain the property to a suitable standard. Think of tenant screening like a smaller-scale version of applying for a mortgage. As the tenant, you’re asking the landlord to trust you in their property. Landlords want to ensure their investment (their property) is safe when doing so.
What information can be used?
There is of course a fine line between what information is uncovered, and what can be used against you. For example, it’s acceptable for the agent or landlord to refuse you as a tenant because you have a poor credit history, or you are well-documented for not paying your rent on time. On the other hand, it’s unacceptable, and illegal, to use certain information to discriminate against you as a tenant.
Is tenant screening legal?
Tenant screening is actively encouraged by the government. In fact, one of the landlord’s legally bound responsibilities is to check their tenant’s right to rent. This means that, in addition to proving your financial stability, you must also prove that you have a legal right to reside in the UK.
When does the process begin?
The tenant screening process begins as soon as you complete a rental application and pay a holding deposit on the property.
If you’ve applied via a letting agency it’s likely that they will use an independent tenant screening company like Canopy to conduct the referencing process for them. As a general rule, letting agents tend to be much more rigorous in their checks than private landlords.
Get ahead of the crowd - get pre qualified
It’s also possible to carry out your own tenancy check by creating a RentPassport and getting pre-qualified. Being pre- qualified will see you looked upon more favourably. As you’ve already completed the key steps of showing your credit history and rental affordability. So how can you do this simply and easily?
Simply download the Canopy Renter app from your app store and create a RentPassport which you can share with letting agents or landlords. With a few clicks you’ll be able to verify who you are and check your credit history via Experian. Then prove your income, financial status, and even past rental payments by connecting securely to your bank account via the Open Banking platform. It also lets you upload your most recent pay slips and bank statements.
This RentPassport is yours for life so can be used for future rentals, and can be updated at any time. Doing the pre-qualifying yourself, with Canopy’s app, puts you in control. You know what information the landlord or letting agent is seeing about you and you’ll be fully aware of your status as a tenant – no nasty surprises! The Canopy RentPassport really does get you ahead of the pack when it comes to renting.