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4 questions to ask potential tenants as lettings demand heats up [+ free referencing checklist]
14 June 2021
Demand is growing as we head into the traditionally busy summer months for lettings and you can make sure you’re not wasting your landlords' or agency’s time or money on applicants your referencing provider would advise against with just a few key questions.
Demand in lettings has been gradually building in recent months - and shows no sign of abating as we head into the summer, with rents currently high and voids low across England according to Goodlord's Rental Index. This means it's important to make sure you’re not wasting your agency’s time or money on applicants your referencing provider would advise against.
You can ensure you’re picking applicants who will breeze through the referencing process by pre-qualifying all of your applicants with a few simple questions. You don’t need to ask for any documents or references at this stage - it’s more about making sure you’re aware of the applicant's situation before putting them through referencing. If their answers raise any red flags, you might want to choose a more suitable applicant for the property instead.
Let them know they’ll be contacted if there are any aspects of their application still outstanding, that their references and guarantors will also be contacted, and where they can go to find extra information on the process.
Key questions to ask potential tenants
What ID do they have?
Establish whether potential applicants have the correct right to rent documents - and read up on the new online system that will be mandatory from 1 July 2021 through the "View and Prove" process for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens. Refer tenants to gov.co.uk if they would like more information on what’s legally required.
How will they be paying rent?
Find out the type of income they have - for example, permanent or temporary employment, pensions, or self-employed - and how much they’re earning. You should already know how much a tenant would need to earn in order to pay rent on the property. If they’re on a low salary, you can let them know they will need a guarantor - who will also require an income check - in order to rent the property.
Ask applicants if they’re aware of an adverse credit history - if they do, they’re unlikely to pass the credit check. Applicants with adverse credit should always declare it for the best possible outcome.
Are they currently renting?
Find out whether applicants are currently renting, which will mean a reference will be required from their current landlord. If they’re living with friends or family, a referee won’t be necessary.
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