The Art Of A Good Reference

The Art Of A Good Reference.

The most important part at pre-tenancy stage is the referencing of the prospective new tenant.  With the information you gather, you can then take a risk assessment as to whether you feel the new tenant can afford to pay the rent for the length of the tenancy.

After all these years, I’m still astounded when looking through references at how some tenants were passed and subsequently allowed to move into a property.

Plenty of landlords are gambling by rushing through the referencing, or just not obtaining enough information on their new tenant, just because they want to get a tenant into their property and avoid a ‘void period’ so as to ensure they can cover their mortgage payment.

However, it’s a false economy!  These landlords are not thinking about the future months of the tenancy.  They are not analysing the data as to what the tenant’s outgoings are, what their spending habits are and whether they actually have enough money to live on for the rest of the month after paying rent. A month without a tenant in the search for the right one, could be far less costly than a tenant who doesn’t pay for six months!

With high demand for rented properties and rents rising, landlords can afford to be more selective in my opinion and should take greater care with regards to the risk management of their investment property. Remember, having a bad tenant is the landlord’s greatest fear.

Of course as a landlord with experience you can also have that ‘gut feeling’ about a tenant, but gut feeling alone is not enough.

Remember from October this year, landlords will be required by law to demonstrate that they have checked on the ‘immigration status of their new tenant if they are a foreign national i.e. ask the tenant about their immigration status, request proof of student visa and/or university placement, proof of working permit and obtain a copy of their passport as well as ensuring it is not fraudulent.

If you are letting your property yourself, I recommend that you have a checklist of things that you ask for as part of your terms:-

1. Ask for three months bank statements

2. Current employers reference (also check the company exists)

3. Previous landlord’s reference and land registry search of that property to confirm the landlord is the correct person

4. A copy of previously tenancy agreement and utility bill showing former address.

5. Copy of passport

6. Details for Next of Kin

7. National Insurance Number


– Don’t rush the referencing

– Don’t let your tenant see you’re desperate for them to move in

– If your tenant won’t give you the information you request, what are they hiding?

– If you’re too busy to reference your tenant properly, then use a reputable tenant referencing company, I recommend a company called , but always check the reference from the agency and make sure it all stacks up.

Precise Treatment Reduces Pain

Detail needs experts. Expert time is worth it when it saves you a costly mistake. Main objective: Get the property back. Best action: Very precise treatment.

Serving a notice is actually the most important part of the possession process.

It isn’t complicated but one tiny error can cause dreadful problems.

That’s why we say, don’t DIY and don’t use internet amateurs. It’s not worth it.

1. Compliance Errors
If the tenant doesn’t leave at Step1, the notice had better be valid. Because then it has to go to court. Any little error can get a case thrown out. And you have to start all over again.

2. Attempting Short-Cuts.
In an effort to be quick, some internet services aimed at landlords are using short-cuts around the process. But if the tenant doesn’t leave (50%) these practices can backfire at court and the case thrown out.

3. Trying to Save Pennies.
Internet services have mushroomed and landlords can expect to get what they pay for. To get the process done PROPERLY it takes a certain amount of time for an expert to look over a file and be accurate. Our fees cover that expert time.

Chasing courts for dates, arranging advocates and preparing court papers is time consuming. Especially if you’ve never done it before.

Some landlord and agents have served notices themselves. They believed they were saving a few pounds but it often ended up costing them more.

If you lose a claim, the court can order you to pay the tenant’s defence cost, which can run to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Our in-house Solicitors are there to get your property back as fast as they can. And we protect landlords and agents from themselves.

As experts, we know that in the rush to get things done, errors can happen. And those errors can can come back later to mess up your case – and the whole process has to start again.

You can speed things up – give us accurate information quickly. Help us to help you.

There are services on the web who will prepare papers BUT they get you to pay the court-fee separately and get you to sign the court papers – so in fact they don’t represent you!

If your notice (at Step1) wasn’t drafted or served correctly you risk wasting your court fees and losing a whole lot of time because of a small error.

We won’t let your case anywhere near a court until we have checked every little detail. To make sure you don’t waste time or money, at Step-2 we first only charge part of the fee.

If your notice is fine, then you just pay the balance of the fee and we issue the claim. If there is a problem with your notice or paperwork, we will advise you what to do next.

Courts take the view that possession proceedings can make someone homeless. So they are very careful. If there’s any error in the notice, they throw the case out. It’s the process. Get it right or lose.

If the notice is invalid, you have to start all over again. The weeks or months you’ve waited are wasted. If there were rent arrears, there are now more.

If there weren’t rent arrears, they might now start. More fees. More lost rent. And still no possession. Tenants can be alerted to making a counter-claim.

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