A landlord can conduct a number of background checks on prospective tenants before entering into a tenancy.
There are some legal requirements for these checks, while others are intended to ensure the person will be a good tenant.
Let’s take a look at the different kinds of background checks that landlords can do on tenants in this article.
Right to Rent checks
Landlords have a legal obligation to check that prospective tenants are legally allowed to rent a residential property in the UK.
Reference and guarantor checks
Landlords will often check references from previous landlords and/or the prospective tenant’s employer.
Checking landlord references is a way of finding out whether the person in question has been a good tenant in the past. Employer reference checks can confirm that they are in employment and earn enough to pay the rent.
In some cases, landlords may ask the tenant to provide a guarantor. This is a person who can pay the rent if the tenant is unable to.
Landlords may ask for a guarantor check when renting to students, people with lower incomes or other groups who may be less financially stable. A guarantor is usually a relative or close friend, and should ideally be a homeowner.
Many landlords carry out credit checks on prospective tenants. These checks give landlords an idea of whether tenants are likely to be able to consistently pay rent, based on their credit history.
Landlords can request a credit check from a consumer credit reference agency, but will require written consent from the tenant first.
There is usually a fee for this but landlords often consider it a good investment, as it’s a far lower cost than even one month’s unpaid rent.
Criminal record checks (DBS Checks)
Landlords are not legally required to carry out criminal record checks on prospective tenants. However, some insurance providers require notification if anyone living at the property has an unspent criminal conviction.
Non-disclosure of a tenant’s unspent conviction could invalidate the landlord’s insurance.
Obtaining a Basic DBS Check can help landlords find out whether prospective tenants have any unspent convictions.
Basic DBS checks reveal whether the tenant has unspent convictions or conditional cautions.