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sash70
01-04-2009, 19:15 PM
Hi
I'm a fairly new landlord - have had two lots of tenants in my flat before, with no problems with payment of rent - but am now trying to be more careful with checks and references for the future. This time I've used the landlord zone's tenancy application form but the prospective tenants are unwilling to provide some information because they think it is too sensitive to disclose and/or not needed to do checks. All other info besides the following listed below was given (ie employer refs, previous landlord refs, addresses for last 3 years etc. all given)

Firstly, no bank account details given ie account name, number and sort code - but they did give name and address of bank. It's my understanding that these bank account details are needed to do a credit check, is that correct? Or can a check be run with just previous address details?

Secondly, they are unwilling to state salary details. (One works for HSBC, one for a research company). I thought part of getting an employer's reference is to request verification of salary, is that correct? Is it very necessary?

Thirdly, I requested to see a photo ID ie passport, when we meet to sign the contract, and also requested a photocopy of that ID - as I'd seen that advised for an identity check. They are unwilling to provide the photocopy. Is it ok to just see the passport, without asking for a photocopy?

Thanks for any advice. My gut feeling is that they are nice people who are being overly cautious, or who have never rented through an agent or professional landlord before, so don't know that this is standard practice - which it is, right?!

Thanks again.

mind the gap
01-04-2009, 19:37 PM
They are 'having a laugh'. I would not touch those tenants with a bargepole. Read this thread:

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=17800&highlight=solicitor+surely

Ericthelobster
01-04-2009, 19:43 PM
I wouldn't worry about getting photocopies of the passport, providing you can see the original passport, confirm it's all kosher, and note down its number.

The rest of the info they are declining to provide is 100% non-negotiable. Do they really think ANYONE will rent them a property without knowing salary details and proof thereof?!

susanne
01-04-2009, 21:43 PM
i have used LLZ tenant application form for 9 years, and anyone who refuses such basic information is hiding something - and you need to find another tenant

agent46
01-04-2009, 21:59 PM
You need to take control of this situation by telling the prospective tenants that unless they are willing to provide the requested information, then the deal is off.

If they pull out, then you have quite possibly avoided being stuck with either dodgy and/or stroppy tenants. If they comply, then you have the information you need in order to go some way towards protecting your interests, and you have also set a precedent for how the rest of the tenancy is going to be conducted (ie: on your terms, as far as possible). In these sort of situations, I think it's worthwhile reminding tenants that they should approach the referencing process in the same way they would if they were applying for a job.

ah84
01-04-2009, 22:26 PM
If the rent is 500quid a month you dont really need to know their salary details as it is bound to be enough to cover that. So just make sure you check they actually are employed.

If rent is over a grand a month you might want to know if they earn enough.

Rodent1
01-04-2009, 22:39 PM
If the rent is 500quid a month you dont really need to know their salary details as it is bound to be enough to cover that. So just make sure you check they actually are employed.

If rent is over a grand a month you might want to know if they earn enough.


It may be prudent to confirm they actually have a job tho ?
And to make sure they are not overloaded with repayments on loans etc
as there are plenty of people for whom £500 rent is beyond their reach:rolleyes:

Preston
01-04-2009, 23:02 PM
If the rent is 500quid a month you dont really need to know their salary details as it is bound to be enough to cover that. So just make sure you check they actually are employed.

If rent is over a grand a month you might want to know if they earn enough.

Sorry, but as Rodent points out, I know lots of people for whom this rent level would be unaffordable. Income is a key fact to find out, possibly the most important detail of all, next to information needed to trace the person after they have left.


It may be prudent to confirm they actually have a job tho ?
And to make sure they are not overloaded with repayments on loans etc
as there are plenty of people for whom £500 rent is beyond their reach:rolleyes:

Rodent1
02-04-2009, 01:29 AM
I had a guy who wanted a flat with income of £35k, flat rent was £575 at the time.

Ref. turned up the fact that he had 90k of unsecured credit and a short chat later revealed that he had serious gambling problem. Also he was just about to get repo'd, after loan repayments, he barely had enough left to feed himself, let alone pay the rent.
I suggested his father go as G, he called his father from my office - Father refused - sensible man that he was, i also refused to take him on.

To grant an AST without full and proper referencing is nothing short of lunacy.
If prospective T refuses to give full details, there is only word left in the conversation: "bye" .

islandgirl
02-04-2009, 08:18 AM
I find that this very form has "scared off" several "risky" tenants and would never accept a tenant who was not prepared to fill it in. I did once (early days of being a LL) and learnt the lesson to the tune of more than £2000, months of stress and an almost wrecked house...

ah84
02-04-2009, 09:38 AM
I had a guy who wanted a flat with income of £35k, flat rent was £575 at the time.

Ref. turned up the fact that he had 90k of unsecured credit and a short chat later revealed that he had serious gambling problem. Also he was just about to get repo'd, after loan repayments, he barely had enough left to feed himself, let alone pay the rent.
I suggested his father go as G, he called his father from my office - Father refused - sensible man that he was, i also refused to take him on.

To grant an AST without full and proper referencing is nothing short of lunacy.
If prospective T refuses to give full details, there is only word left in the conversation: "bye" .

I do agree with you. My point is that at a rent of 500 quid a month as long as they actually have a full time job then that should cover it. That does not mean you should not do a credit check to check for debts.

As it happens I am one of those lunatics who do not credit check.

I only recently started asking to see passports and proof of employment. That is all I check, and I have had no problems from at least 100 lets over 12 years. However I am a good character judge and know what I am looking for and will just reject a person if there is something I am not keen on. I do not recommend this to someone else and maybe I will start credit checking!!

John J
02-04-2009, 10:04 AM
This feedback has proved very useful to me. I'm just about to put my first residential property onto the rental market.

Thanks to everybody who replied to the initial enquiry - even though it wasn't me.

John

sash70
02-04-2009, 10:53 AM
Yes - thanks to everyone who has replied. Very useful. I have responded to potential T's stating that all information is required. Let's see what happens next.....

moto
02-04-2009, 12:47 PM
Just wanted to add a tennants comment to this! I would be quite happy to show a potentional LL my bank statements, and pay slips, as I do agree that a LL has to have proof that you are earning money and can cover the rent, I would also be happy to show my passport, however I would not be happy to have photocopies of my passport taken.

sash70
02-04-2009, 15:14 PM
I agreed that a photocopy of the passport was not needed. BUT they have refused to give bank account details and salary details and have pulled out.

here are some of their comments...
"I have been renting for over 9 years and never have I been asked to give so many personal and sensitive information...All our previous landlords & reputable agents have taken references and done all the necessary checks but yours is over the top and quite alarming. They are not standard questions!"

Is the LLZ tenancy application form any more detailed (intrusive some might say!) than other application forms, or what people generally ask for?

"How would you feel if we were to ask you to provide us with the same personal details you require from us just to make sure you are also who you say you are and owned the flat? "

I would be more than happy to give the same level of information to a tenant so they could check my identity and ownership of the flat.

"For instance - why do you need our bank details? It is NEVER needed for a credit check - that is a fact. We both work in the finance industry and know how things work! "

I checked with Tenant Verify about the need for bank account details for a credit check. They told me that with account details they can verify the T's address, and then proceed to run reports on that address. Could this verification of address be done another way - with a council tax bill perhaps? Do we always need bank account details for a credit check? Is there another reason for wanting bank account details?

I understand that some landlords ask for a written bank reference as opposed to doing a credit check. Am I right in thinking that these provide different information though? A credit check looks at things like loans, credit cards, any CCJs and any payment defaults and then a basic credit check report will just give me their rating - ie I don't get the full info but I can work out how risky it might be taking them on.
Whereas a bank ref will just tell me if they can afford the monthly rent.
Surely then - it's good to do both credit check AND bank reference?

And if you don't ask for a bank reference, I'm assuming asking for salary details and getting verification of that from employer, does pretty much the same thing - confirms they can afford to pay.

So to sum up - sorry for banging on! - in terms of checks and refs, to be really safe you need
- previous landlord ref - to check suitability
- employer ref - to check they are working
- credit check - to check they're not in bad debt or have defaulted
- bank ref, or verification of salary along with employer ref - to check they can afford rent
- view of a photo ID like passport - to check identity

What do you think?!

Rodent1
02-04-2009, 18:16 PM
I think you take a look at just how many headaches can be removed by using this:

www.tenantref.co.uk (http://www.tenantref.co.uk)