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REFERENCES AND THE TENANT:

References and the Tenant!

 

A recent request from a landlord who shall remain anonymous has led us to writing this article. Please read, it is very important and might help you in choosing a good tenant as opposed to a bad tenant.

Why reference a tenant?

Referencing a tenant will help you establish the fact that he/she is who they say they are.

What references should I ask for?

None - never ask the tenant to supply references - it is so easy to make them up especially with computers and photocopiers being as advanced as they are.

What referees do I ask for?

As an agent we always asked the tenant to supply the following referees:

Bank - account managers name, address of bank, bank account number and sort code and a telephone number (or look it up).

Employment: the name and address and telephone number of the employer and the correct department as well as any employer number.

Previous Landlord - a very useful one this, get the name, address and telephone number.

Now if the tenant can not provide the above information, look carefully as to the reasons given. Always be sceptical, but never too nosy that will put the tenant off. The tenant may have good reason.

What If?

The tenant has no bank account?

Then perhaps they have a building society account, if so then ensure you get these details instead and request a reference.

The tenant is about to start work for the first time?

Tread carefully. Firstly you will need a reference from an educational establishment that proves he/she attended there and gained the qualifications required to get the employment they have got. Secondly you will need a letter from the employer or future employer confirming that the tenant has employment and that the salary is sufficient to cover the monthly rent.

The tenant is about to start work for a new employer?

Get a reference from the previous employer, stating how long they were with the company and that they would not hesitate to re-employ the tenant in the future (letter enclosed a little later) and get a letter from the tenants' new employer stating that they are about to start work on a permanent contract and that the salary is sufficient to cover the monthly rent.

Tenant has no previous landlord?

Then we always sought references from 2 professional people, i.e. doctor, dentist, solicitor etc stating that the character of the tenant was trustworthy and that they would be unlikely to cause any nuisance or grief to the prospective landlord.

Always write to these people yourself, or if the tenant provides you with written references ensure that they are true, by contacting the person who has signed the reference.

Points to note:

If a potential tenant does not want to provide you with any information then think twice about letting them becoming your tenant.

Never judge people on appearances - yes, even I have been duped into this one within the first year of my training - cost the landlord a fortune!

Always check the references and that the referee actually exists!

If the tenant does not have a bank account or building society account, how are they going to pay you your rent? How do they get paid from their employer? How can they prove to you that they are financially stable and are not going to have a problem with paying the rent?

Remember that references are given in the strictest of confidence and you must not pass any of the information you receive about the tenant onto any other person without the tenants' permission.

Bank references are the worst references. Not only do they charge a fee of around �10 - �15.00 per status enquiry, they take an age to deliver them. Our method was to get the tenant to sign a standard letter, enclose a credit card number or tick a box saying that the fee could be taken from their account, saving you having to pay and send the original to the bank. As I said we will enclose the letters at the end of this document. Bank references can be bit confusing when you get the reply. For example if the bank returns a reply stating the person in question is good for the amount of ���. Per month - no problem. If the bank says they should be good for the amount, not a bad reference really. Should the bank say they are surprised to see the person in question having this amount of money taken from their account watch out. However, if they say they are surprised but as long as it is replacing current commitments then this could be fine as long as the person in question does just that. I.e replaces one monthly rent with yours! Read the reply carefully. Remember banks will never be derogatory about the person they are replying about afterall it is their customer, but a lot can be read into them. So please check them carefully.

Letter to the bank, please feel free to cut and paste and print as appropriate.

To The Manager

(Address of Bank)

(Date)

 

Status Enquiry Request:

 

I would be grateful if you would supply a status enquiry to (Name of landlord) regarding my ability to pay (monthly rental amount) per calendar month.

My account details are:

Account Name:- (enter name of account)

Account Number:- enter account number)

Account Sort Code:- (enter account sort code)

Please send your reply to:

Name and Address of landlord.

I understand there will be a charge regarding this request and authorise you by signing this letter to deduct the above named account with the sum required to process this request. Please give this request your utmost attention.

Yours Faithfully

(Signature of tenant) Ensure the signature matches the name of the account holder.

_____________________(print name) Date:_____________2001

 

 

Letter to current employer: try to get a specific name and check that name is valid by ringing the company! Please feel free to cut and paste and print as you want.

 

(Name and address of employer)

(Date)

Dear (name of employer)

RE: (name of Tenant)

(name of tenant) has applied for a tenancy through me and has given me permission to contact you as a referee. As such I would be grateful if you would kindly supply me with the following information.

1. (Name of tenant) is on a permanent contract with yourselves.

2. That you see no reason why (name of tenant) should not be with you in the foreseeable future.

3. That you believe (name of tenant) salary is adequate to cover a monthly rental of (monthly rental)

4. Please also state for how long (name of tenant) has been in your employment.

Please note that all the information you give is treated in the strictest of confidence at all times.

I would be grateful if you would send your reply to:

(your name and address)

Yours Sincerely (or faithfully if letter is addressed to Sir / Madam)

(your signature)

 

Letter to previous Landlord: Please cut and paste as you want etc.

 

(Name and Address of previous landlord)

(Date)

Dear (name of previous landlord)

RE: (name of tenant)

(Name of tenant) has applied for a tenancy with me and as such has given me to approach you as a referee and former Landlord. Therefore, I would be grateful if you would answer the following questions:

1. Please confirm that (name of tenant) was a tenant of yours and the dates of the tenancy.

2. That the rent was always paid on time.

3. That the property was well looked after

4. That you would not hesitate to have (name of tenant) as a tenant in the future, should the situation ever arise.

Please find enclosed a stamped addresses envelope for your earliest reply.

Thank you for your time,

Yours Sincerely

(signature)

These are typical examples of letters that should be written. Always enclose a stamped addressed envelope so that you are creating as little hassle for the person on the other end as possible. No need to do this with the bank though!

 

An important note for your attention: as a referee it is illegal to give false information. A landlord can seek compensation from you if you fail to put a disclaimer on the reply you send. Hence why the banks and solicitors and several other professional bodies will usually put a clause along the lines of:

This information is given in good faith and we can not be held liable for any circumstances that may cause a change in the character or the characters' standing. All the information given is done so in the strictest of confidence and may be passed on to no-one else at all without the express permission of the author.

Other wording much to the same effect does appear as well.

In conclusion:

I hope the above helps and although we try to ensure we are being helpful and assisting you in the best possible way, please remember that all the information published is done so as a guide and that you should seek your own methods of taking up referencing. Please do not take the above as gospel as there are many various reasons why tenants can not provide adequate references and we do not wish to cloud your judgement. However, we do feel that the above information should be of use to you.

 

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