When you are looking for somewhere new to rent, the tenant screening process may seem like an unnecessary obstacle for you to navigate before you can secure your next property. It takes time and requires you to provide various personal details that help to prove you are who you say you are - ranging from your identity to proof of your employment and income or right to benefits.

Yet, tenant verification is a crucial part of the letting process that helps to safeguard landlords and property managers against deceptive applicants. That, in turn, helps to keep down costs since landlords and property managers are less likely to let to fraudulent tenants if such tenant verification checks have been undertaken.

It also helps to build a trusted relationship with your new landlord who, safe in the knowledge that you are who you say you are, can be confident that their property is in good hands and that a problem-free tenancy should follow. 

Fighting fraud

Tenant verification is a crucial step in fighting fraud in the lettings market. Rental fraud has surged by a third in the last 12 months alone, heightened by a lack of available property causing more tenants to compete for the same place, as well as the cost-of-living crisis, inflation and high interest rates straining finances.

Tenant referencing involves a blend of checks, from employment to financial, that help to prove that you are who you say you are and are also being truthful about affordability. Many landlords and agents use specialist tenant referencing companies to undertake these checks since they blend standard human checks with extensive databases and technology to identify would-be fraudulent tenants and can provide a more trusted tenant verification result. 

The information you'll need to share

Your right-to-rent status will be checked, along with affordability and income verification. It’s also likely that a credit check will run, although this will be with your permission. If you’ve rented previously, references from previous landlords will also be used as part of the tenant verification check.

You will need to provide a range of documents, such as a UK passport or an EEA/Swiss identity card and your driving license if you have one, as well as contact details for employers and previous landlords. Apart from providing the information you are requested, the tenant verification process runs in the background as your rental application moves forward. This means that beyond providing your details it’s not something to be concerned about. Equally, if it does identify issues, you still have the opportunity to talk to your landlord or letting agent to come up with a solution, such as if it highlights affordability challenges.

But the benefits are huge since it reduces fraud in the market, perhaps identifying would-be fraudulent tenants who are chasing the same property you’ve fallen in love with and meaning that property becomes yours instead.

At HomeLet our tenant referencing armoury will include VISTA, an innovative, fast, and accurate tenant reference service that eliminates fraud by using leading fraud detection technology and providing a true affordability assessment of applications. With 30 years of experience, we are one of the UK’s leading tenant referencing and specialist suppliers for the Private Rented Sector.

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