Can I do tenant checks myself?

by Readers Question

4 years ago

Can I do tenant checks myself?

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Can I do tenant checks myself?

Can I as a Landlord, do my own tenant checks? Or is my only real option to use an agent or referencing service? I am really struggling to find a definitive answer on this one.

Tenant checking services in general charge approximately £25. But what am I getting for my money?

How do I know that they have carried out full and comprehensive checks? I’d be a fool to rely solely on their findings as, what come back do I have against them should the tenants turn out to be a bad choice? None!

For my latest and first let, I used a letting agent. I asked for the results of the checks and their response was simply; ‘yes, they have passed’! or, ‘yes, their credit score was fine’! What on earth does this mean? What criteria do they use in assessing what is good or not? What additional checks do they make beyond accepting the tenants word? When I asked for further details I was told that they do not give out anything further nor, anything in writing. Not surprisingly, I feel extremely anxious!

I have time available. Am I permitted to do my own checks?
– How would I go about accessing credit ratings for prospective tenants? Is this something that Experian would provide?
– How would I go about confirming how long they have been at their current address?
– Where would I find details of CCJs or bad debt records?
– Do the council give out information freely or is this held back under the data protection act?

Presumably, all of this is something that every Landlord would wish to know about their prospective tenants. Tenant data-bases are an excellent idea but, until fully comprehensive, are a little worthless. They hi-light a bad one but, just because not hi-lighted does not necessarily mean that the tenant is not, or not going to be, a bad one.

Any help on all of this would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks in advance for any advice offered.

Best regards,

Rogerreferences



Comments

Adam Alexander

4 years ago

Hi Roger

Please do not be confused by my company name, I only manage properties for my family so I'm not touting for business but I can help you, and other self managing landlords.

We have a process which we refer to as Professional Referencing and Soft Referencing. We do both and recommend both. You cannot obtain rent guarantee insurance without Professional Referencing and unless you have a particularly large property portfolio with very strong cashflow this is highly recommended.

Soft referencing is a process of getting to "know your customer".

I have documented our entire letting strategy on my website and you can access the relevant page via the link below.
.

Roger Rabbit14

4 years ago

Hi Adam,

Thank you very much for your time in responding to my query. Very useful article that you offered. Interesting read. However, I am still struggling to obtain the information re being able to carry out credit checks etc myself. You don't mention whether this is possible or, the charges involved.

I have some time later this week. I think I'll be having a ring around some of the check companies and see what options are open to me. If I find anything, I'll post on here to help others that may be interested.

Many thanks.

Roger


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