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The landlord or letting agency is likely to ask you for up to three references in an attempt to make sure that you will be a rent paying, agreement abiding tenant, who will not cause them unnecessary strain and stress. Of course, as we all know, good references are no guarantee that you will be any of these things, but you can't blame them for trying to protect their investment.

The referencing process will differ depending on who you are renting from. Private landlords may simply ask for the address and phone number of your previous landlord, bank and employer and contact them directly.

Lettings agents will often require you to fill in a referencing form, which allows either themselves or a third party referencing company to write to various individuals or referees that are able to help confirm your ability to meet the rental commitment.

Some companies will also ask you to pay if you want a reference from them. Past landlords and other lettings agencies will usually make a charge for this.

Make sure that you advise anybody you are using as a reference that they are going to be used as such. Encourage them to respond as quickly as possible, and be sure that they will not be away at the wrong time.

What informaton will I need to provide?
Agencies in London use several different referencing companies. All require same information. This will be across a number of different areas:

  • Address
  • Property type
  • Move in date
  • Length and type of tenancy
  • Whether there is a 6 month break clause
  • Amount of monthly rent.

Amount due
This is the total amount due up front from the tenant, which includes your monthly rent in advance, the deposit and any administration fee that is payable.

Personal details

  • Names
  • Date of birth
  • Smoker?
  • Have you any pets?
  • Car registration number
  • Sex & Marital status
  • Children

  • Current address
  • Phone numbers

Residency details

  • Current residency status - i.e. whether you are a homeowner, rent privately, are a council tenant, a student, live with your parents or are staying in temporary accommodation.
  • Any previous addresses you have had in the last 3 years.
  • Your current and previous landlord, managing agent or local authority.

County court judgemenets
Do you have any? If so, you will be asked to give details.

Employment details

  • Your job title and description
  • Employer details
  • Salary details
  • Payroll number if you have one
  • A contact at work
  • Details of your previous employer if you have been in your current job for less than 6 months

Bank details

  • Bank name and address
  • Account name, sort code, number

You will then have to sign a declaration that states that all the information you have provided is accurate to the best of your knowledge. By signing the document you are also thereby authorising the lettings agent or a third party to carry out a credit search against your details. You will not normally be told why you have failed if you do fail. If this happens do not despair. Speak to the agent about using a guarantor to secure your tenancy.

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