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Tenant Advice

Understanding Tenant Referencing

July 31, 2018

When you’re looking to rent a new property, there are some checks it’s important for you to understand so you can make sure you hit the criteria before you start your search. If you’re renting through an estate agent like Portico then the Paralegal team will be handling and processing your paperwork but if the landlord is doing the checks themselves, these are all or some of the searches they will want to conduct in order to protect themselves when you are their tenant.

Application Forms

In these initial pieces of paperwork you’ll give all of your basic information, such as contact details, previous address, employer information, your bank details and a declaration that you allow the landlord or estate agent to carry out the below checks.

Employer References

You will have been asked in your application about your work and salary in order for the landlord to be reassured that you’ll always pay rent on time. Generally they want to see that you’re making about 2.5 times your portion of the rent, and this should help you work out what you can afford. They will just seek a reference from your employer to confirm your salary and that your job there is steady and you haven’t had any unexpected breaks in employment in the last six months. If you’re self-employed, your income will be measured as an average of the last 3 full years.

Previous Landlord References

You will also be asked for your previous address and previous landlord’s details in order for the upcoming landlord to confirm that you were a reliable tenant who paid rent on time and looked after the property. If there are delays to this, it could hold up your paperwork on your new home.

Credit Check

Websites such as Experian and Clearscore are great to see your credit score. These sites take into account all sorts of things, such as whether you have any unpaid bills or any debt on credit or debit cards. The landlord will be checking to see that your credit score is at a good level and that you are reliable for rent payments. It’s important for you to get your credit rating up as when you come to get a mortgage when buying a house, this will be checked again.


You will also be asked for a guarantor, who needs to be a parent/legal guardian who is a homeowner in England or Wales and meets the affordability criteria who will be willing to vouch for you if you’re struggling to pay your rent. They will be required to sign a declaration stating they will pay your rent if you default. They will also be referenced.

Our advice

We've asked our Head of Paralegal, Aleksandra Galla, for her biggest tips for tenants preparing to rent a property. She says, "My first tip would be to bring your passport with you, so we can take a copy of it there and then if you decide to take a property instead of you having to make another trip. Also, when you know you're going to be looking for a new rental property start to prepare your paperwork, such as the letter from your employer, so you're one step ahead. Also, the more you provide and the quicker, the easier and quicker it'll be processed and we can manage your expectation better. Happy hunting!"

There’s no need for referencing to be complicated. As long as you’ve considered all of the above pointers, when it comes to your property referencing you’ll sail through. If you think your references will not be straightforward for any reason, speak to the estate agent and landlord upfront about it so you can work out the quickest and easiest way to solve this. If you’re looking for a property to rent, see what Portico have to offer.

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