Tenant referencing: the basics
What is a tenant reference?
Almost* every time a tenant rents a property, they need to go through a process where the agent or landlords checks the applicant can afford to pay the rent.
*Some don't bother—rightly or wrongly—we don't judge. 😒
Main components of a tenant reference
To crudely simplify the process, a reference can be split into two sections:
- The Credit Search - This is where we check that we can find the applicant at their declared address, and then looks for adverse credit such as CCJs, insolvencies or bankruptcies. This is a fairly light check.
- Income and rent verification - A process to verify that the tenant earns money, and has previously been a good tenant, if applicable.
Is referencing required?
No, not legally. But you do need to be referenced to purchase certain types of insurance, and it's strongly recommended to reference them regardless.
Through Movem: Instantly*.
Through traditional methods: Anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks. It depends on the employer, the applicant, the weather at the time, and if the FA cup final happens to be on.
*Okay, well the form takes like, 5 minutes to complete. But the results are instant.
Does a landlord organise the reference, or the agent?
Either can. Normally this is done by a managing agent, and even 'let-only' agencies will probably reference the tenants.
Referencing foreign applicants
Movem can reference any applicant with a valid UK address, a source of income and previous rental payments. If you don't have all of those, you will typically need a guarantor—or to pay rent up front.
Renewing a tenancy
If you've previously referenced a tenant, and their tenancy is up for renewal, you will most likely not need to reference them again. It really depends if there's been a change in circumstance or if you're insurance provider insists on an up-to-date reference.
How long does a reference stay valid for?
A reference is generally considered valid if it's within the previous 90 days, however many agencies will insist on completing a reference during the application process themselves.
Formatting of the results
The decision will be outputted as a PDF, for you to download and save locally. The results will also be available through the API as a JSON.
This a lightweight format for storing and transporting data through our API.
A way for two systems to connect and share data.
Click here to see an example PDF.