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. 

How can your agency save time before referencing tenants?

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 to ask your potential tenants.

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.

How can you help your tenants move through the process quickly?

As well as understanding the questions to ask tenants before renting, making tenants aware of what will be involved in the referencing process will improve their experience by avoiding any surprises along the way. You can download a free referencing checklist to share with your tenants here.

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.  

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

Key questions to ask potential tenants

What ID do they have?

You'll need to 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?

You'll need to 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.

You may also want to check your landlord's preference when it comes to tenants on furlough, with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme being phased out in increments until the end of September 2021.

Do they have an adverse credit history?

You should ask your 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.

Goodlord offers pre-qualification of tenants before referencing, so you can be sure you’re covered. Find out more by getting in touch with us here.

Further reading