You know that as a landlord, it’s important to go through a thorough and consistent screening process before you rent out your property.
Tenant background checks are an important part of your letting process and can help you screen potential tenants for any “red flags”, that doesn’t fit your perfect tenant profile.
Of course, you may have a different “perfect tenant profile” compared to other landlords but screening will help you meet your own set criteria in a way in which you can manage your property portfolio.
Carrying out a background check will minimize the possible risk areas of being a landlord, such as late payment of rent, having to remove a tenant for anti-social behaviour, or evicting a tenant who trashes your property.
The timing of your tenant screening process should take place once you have received a rental application from a prospective tenant. Having information about the prospective tenant at hand will make it easier for you to make an informed decision.
The Purpose of Tenant Screening is to verify and check |
Below are the steps on how to screen a prospective tenant to weed out possible problem tenants ahead of time.
Start the process by having the potential tenant fill in your rental application form. You can get access to a sample application from The British Landlord Association (thebla.co.uk). The application should cover all the usual details including | name, date of birth, contact details, employment details, social security number, identity proof, current address, previous landlord’s reference, and current income.
The application should also state that a tenant background screening, credit check and criminal history check will be conducted if appropriate and that the potential tenant is giving his consent in writing for conducting these checks.
Shergroup provides a comprehensive tenant background check as part of its property solutions. Click here to get the check done for the cost of £25.00 plus VAT – https://shergroup.com/product-page/property-tenant-background-check
Don’t forget that the guarantor’s credit should also be verified if the tenant has a guarantor.
Request on seeing a valid photo identity proof from your prospective tenant. Insist for a driving licence or passport as a photo ID. Make a copy of the licence and attach it to the rental application.
A quick call or a video call would be a great idea if you are busy and cannot find the time for a personal interview with your potential tenant. This will enable you to explore more about your tenant’s lifestyle and personality in an informal manner and may take your relationship way forward.
Remember all this background information when recorded in your system or file becomes data that can be subject to a Subject Access Request by your future tenant.
We would encourage all landlords to carry out a system audit to cover yourself in how you handle the data you collect. A simple rule that we follow in Shergroup is never writing anything about someone you wouldn’t want to see written about yourself. This helps keep the data objective, and saves crossing any lines on personal attributes. If you have to record information on criminal background checks, sex offender registration, or medical conditions then again take advice on how to record this more sensitive data to stay compliant with the Data Protection legislation and GDPR.
Also, don’t forget to register your business with the Information Commissioner’s Office!
As a landlord choosing the right potential tenant screening service is an important step in your letting process. After all, you don’t want to waste your energy in going through the trouble of evicting a tenant.
Shergroup’s tenant background check will verify the tenant’s current address, and ability to pay the rent. By using our service, you are likely to minimize the risk of running into rent arrears or other rental agreement problems caused by tenants.
Of course, if your screening process doesn’t stop tenants getting into your property who fall short on their tenancy obligations, then Shergroup can help in putting a claim together for possession and then eventually carrying out the eviction process. Our solutions hub is developing more services for landlords all the time.
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Last updated | 19 July 2023
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