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What Background Checks Can Landlords Carry Out On Tenants?

background checks for landlords and tenants

Before entering into a tenancy, there are a number of background checks that landlords can carry out on prospective tenants.

Some of these checks are a legal requirement, while others are designed to ascertain whether the person in question will be a good tenant.

In this article we’ll go over the different background checks that landlords can carry out on tenants.

Credit checks

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 an adverse 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. 

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. 

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.

You can find out more about this process on the government website.

Criminal record 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.

In order to find out whether a prospective tenant has any unspent convictions, landlords can ask them to get a Basic DBS Check. 

A Basic DBS Check is a type of criminal record check that will show whether the tenant has any unspent convictions or conditional cautions.

Applying for a Basic DBS Check

The prospective tenant must apply for the Basic DBS Check themselves – the landlord cannot apply on their behalf. 

There is a modest fee for this check (at uCheck it’s £43 per check) so landlords should agree with the tenant in advance whether they’ll reimburse the cost. 

Applying for a DBS Check through our online platform is quick and simple, and checks are usually complete within 48 hours.If you’d like to know more about Basic DBS Checks, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’re always happy to help.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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