Five steps to select the most suitable tenants before referencing [+ free referencing checklist]

8 June 2021

Letting agency Property Shop Yorkshire goes through an extensive pre-qualification process with its applicants, taking care to find tenants that are suitable for its landlords' properties well before referencing starts.

"Our referencing model is a bit different to other agents. We spend a lot of time pre-vetting people," says Ryan Melles, Owner of The Property Shop Yorkshire, an agency focused solely on lettings and property management in Bridlington on the East coast of Yorkshire.

The agency's tenant pre-qualification process involves a number of steps, filtering to find the most suitable tenants early on, so its landlords can take more confidence in the tenants that move in.

Advertise and ask applicants to register

"We'll advertise the property accurately, then select where we want it listed, such as on our own website. We also advertise on the leading property portals which link to Facebook marketplace."

A benefit of using these online portals to advertise properties is the simple, automated responses that tenants are offered. “If applicants have clicked through to a property then they tend to just click the automated button for 'I want a viewing, can I have more details?'," says Ryan.

Once the agency receives these requests, a reply is sent to the tenant. "We have automatic responses in our emails that then ask them to register with us, for free, because we want a bit more info about them, which we store in a GDPR compliant way." This acts as the first filter, as the applicants who aren’t serious choose not to register.

A manual sift through applicants

For applicants who register, they receive an automated response, thanking them and stating that they will be contacted if any further information is required.

From this point, Ryan’s team will look through the applications to “sift” the information based on non-discriminatory criteria. "We work through and shortlist until we’ve got three or four that look really good, subject to what they've told us," Ryan explains.

A call to applicants

A phone call is up next. "We then ring them and ask them to tell us a bit more about their situation, and why they’re moving," says Ryan. "Once we’re happy, then - and only then - do we take them on for a viewing because there's no point otherwise."

Maximise your letting agency's potential with advice from this free e-book

A virtual viewing

Even before the pandemic, the agency made in-depth videos to show off their properties in virtual viewings and ensure tenants could have a good look, before deciding to proceed to a physical viewing. “We put the videos on YouTube and they’re normally about seven or eight minutes long, so candidates can have a really good look.”

The physical viewing

By the time applicants attend a physical viewing, the agency is certain that they’re not only serious about renting the property, but are the right profile of applicants for their landlord.

“Sometimes, we only show one person the property before they sign up and that's because we've done all of that pre-vetting, which is time consuming - but necessary.”

At this point, you can share a referencing checklist with your tenants, so they can prepare and tick off any final criteria before they move through the referencing process. 

Want the latest lettings news delivered straight to your inbox every week? Sign up to our mailing list and stay up to date. 

Further reading