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References and documents from new tenants?


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I'm hoping someone can lend us a hand. We have some prospective tenants coming to view our property and would like to ask them for some form of references. What are the normal references that landlords will require and is there any other documentation people provide, such as average bill costs etc. We have 3 different people coming to view, and would also like to know what are the best references to use in order to decide on the tenant to offer the property to. Obviously one can work on intuition (which we would not totally rely on!!), but what else should we look for in order to make the best decision?

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Hi Silverlwinter,

Assuming your prospective tenants have rented before ask for a recent previous landlord reference as a start point and contact the landlord to double check they are truthful. I always ask for employers refs and go on to check them out on the tenants I am almost sure I am going to let to. I would also ask for photo ID - I know this sounds extreme but in the last year I was almost conned by a white English man whose Filipino wife was 2 different women. This could equally apply to any natiionality I hasten to add.

Intuition is a very good tool if you posess it and you can usually get a good sense of someone's character at an interview - but always back it up with the written stuff.

Also there are several on-line tenant credit checking agencies some of which have had a mention on this site before that you can also use. I have never had tenants provide previous bills but I suppose that proves they lived at a previous address.

Good Luck,


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I insist on:

- a recent bank statement

- a current household bill with name of tenant and address (if applicable).

- Photo ID

- and a previous landlord's reference, if applicable (the landlord b4 last is best, as current landlord may lie to get rid of problem tenant).

If i'm happy with this, I then:

- take a two week rent holding deposit, followed by an online credit check for CCJs (you will need the prospective tenant(s) current/previous home addresses and Date of birth). If the tenant fails credit check return holding deposit minus cost of credit check (inform tenant of this before you take holding deposit).

- get Employer's written reference, confirming the prospective tenant's salary and that they aren't under notice to leave employment, follow up by phoning HR (make some excuse for talking to HR person, explaining who you are), ask name of HR person, check HR person's name / phone number and company address tallies with proper company (google).

Take 6 weeks deposit, make this very clear, if advertiing on gumtree.co.uk etc, this will deter many bad tenants who will move onto a softer target.

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