Tenant background checks reliable?

by Readers Question

9:46 AM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

Tenant background checks reliable?

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Tenant background checks reliable?

Recently I got a new tenant offer and the agency hired FCC Paragon to do the tenant’s background check for us.

Since I had a bad experience the past few months with another tenant disappeared on me and didn’t pay rent for months and I just got really cautious about it.

Does anyone have the experience by using FCC Paragon services or others and how reliable are they?

Many Thanks

Vivi



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:48 AM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

Hi Vivi,
Would you not be taking references to get rent guarantee insurance considering your past experience?

Rennie

11:31 AM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

I was looking at a reference that was obtained by my letting agent and there was something in there that was ringing bells. I got on the phone and spoke to the reference company and got a better understanding of exactly what they were and weren't checking. I also got them to get some more information and documentation from the prospective tenant so I could be happier about the reliability and comprehensiveness of the check. I didn't realise before that I could ask more questions about the reference or have them ask more questions of the tenant or the people who were supplying the reference information so I have learned something from that.

Smartermind

11:53 AM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

My son lets out a property and we got references carried out that came with a clean check and passed but proved to be worse than useless. I was suspicious of the tenant and did some digging myself. I found that his employer was fake with a fake website and his wage slips were fake. These online reference checkers rely on phone calls to contact details given by the applicant, so nothing to stop any fraudster giving their best friends contact details as employer and the reference checkers would not be any the wiser.
We declined the tenant application and then started getting threatening text messages! That was a lucky escape.

Ann

12:27 PM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

We had a proposed tenant who passed the reference checks but a Google search revealed a reasonably recent newspaper story covering his conviction for fraud! Our man continued to deny lying on the application that he'd no criminal convictions and also became threatening and abusive. So I'm with you on being sceptical regarding referencing too. We did not use the referencing company in question. I'm certainly glad I chose to do some investigating of my own.

The Forever Tenant

12:46 PM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

I remember one time when my computer illiterate boss forwarded me the reference check to fill in myself as they couldn't work out how.

Just to clarify, I didn't fill it in myself. I went to my boss and showed them how to do it.

Chris @ Possession Friend

15:16 PM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

Vivi, - so happens that a Tenant we are evicting for a landlord at present was ' referenced ' by FCC Paragon.
My comment to the landlord upon seeing the reference report, is that its the shortest Tenant reference check I have ever seen ! ( next to worthless ) and contains very, very little detail.
No previous landlord checks, etc

We are seeing a number of our past clients ( and some new landlords ) coming to us for assistance in vetting tenants.

Aside from using a reference company which you can get for about £15, I always ask the Tenant for their last 6 months bank statements and details of their previous residences over the last 5 years. Also, a Guarantor.
From a tenants bank statement, especially if in receipt of benefit or minimum wage, weekly take-away food invoices for £35 - 40 is a worrying sign. ( I have seen them, recently )

Chris @ Possession Friend

15:25 PM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 06/07/2020 - 11:53
What reference company did your son use ?

terry sullivan

19:43 PM, 6th July 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 06/07/2020 - 11:53
did you notify the police?

WP

11:30 AM, 7th July 2020
About a month ago

Can someone provide a comprehensive list of what checks they do please and perhaps the sites to use (especially if free). It will be very useful to us recent LL's who maybe thinking we are doing all the checks we can.... but in reality may not be.
Much appreciated.

Tracy Conner

7:45 AM, 11th July 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 07/07/2020 - 11:30
Hi there, I have used referencing via the NLA (I think it might be the old FLS referencing co) and they have a choice of reference levels with a bullet point list of things they check.
It costs an annual fee to join the landlord associations but whichever one you choose it’s a small price to pay to remain updated and utilise reliable resources.

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