“How do you reference tenants?”
This is a question we’re often asked by landlords and it is a very good question.
After all, if you’re handing over control of one of your most valuable assets to a complete stranger, you’ll want to know how we ensure we find you the best tenant possible. So, here is our answer to how we reference tenants:
We reference tenants ‘by the book’
We use an established, independent referencing provider with every check paid for by the tenant.
These checks confirm:
- Firstly, the applicant is who they say they are;
- Secondly, they have the financial means to pay the rent on time every month, and;
- Thirdly, they are worthy of being trusted with your property.
We go beyond ‘by the book’
But we don’t stop there. Unlike other agencies, we have a 3-step referencing process.
Before we even make a submission to the referencing agency, we go through our own proprietary process of getting to know the applicant as soon as they telephone for a viewing. This is our Step 1. With our rigorous screening process, we are able to gauge whether they would make a good tenant, whether they are a serious candidate, and if it’s worthwhile inviting them to a viewing. We go through this process because we know that, in London at least, there are rogue applicants whose only intention is to break into a property they know to be vacant.
So, as you can tell, we take the security of your property very seriously indeed.
We attend all viewings in person
Did you know that not all agents attend viewings? There is a growing trend for this job to be outsourced to third parties who may know nothing about the property, the area, or even the health and safety procedures that govern a viewing.
We never outsource this important part of the process. This is our Step 2. We always attend viewings in person because we believe this is the only way to be sure the applicant is a person we want to have as a tenant. But there is another reason why we always personally attend viewings: we see viewings as an opportunity for applicants to find out about us i.e. who we are and how we will look after them.
It’s all about the relationship
When the prospective tenant is with us at the property, we perform another proprietary process to confirm their identity and gauge further their fitness for the property. For example, not all tenants are going to be a good fit for a property with a garden. If we’re with them at the viewing, we’re going to be able to determine this straight away and not waste anyone’s time.
Compared to most agencies that only allow a few minutes per viewing, we often take 15 minutes or longer because we want to allow tenants as much time as possible to get to know us, the property and the area, and for us to learn more about them. This is our Step 3. If the applicant has passed our 3-step process, then and only then do we send their details to the referencing agency.
Building a relationship like this takes time and we start the process from the moment we pick up the phone. We believe our 3-step process and ongoing relationship building is the right way to vet tenants. Yes, it does take time to cultivate such relationships, but we know that gauging all the angles of soft qualities is what sets us apart from our competition. And we know our clients appreciate our unique, hands-on approach to referencing tenants. As one happy client put it: ”She [Lia] has a keen eye for detail and is a good judge of character, particularly useful when dealing with tricky applicants. She’s also very thoughtful and great at putting herself in the shoes of the tenant or the landlord to help her decide on a way forward.”