Tenant referencing. It’s frustrating, but it’s got to be done. Although most tenants are responsible and pay their rent on time, broke swindlers with dubious morals and carpet chewing pets do unfortunately exist. And sometimes tenant referencing is all that stands between you and an irate landlord with a penchant for composing spleen-venting reviews online.
The good news, however, is that we’ve discovered a way to make tenant referencing less of a chore. But first, let’s explore the five things that agents dislike most about what can be an inherently dislikeable process …
1. It takes too long
Tenant referencing can be clunky, stressful, and confusing. And although tenant referencing shouldn’t take longer than 48 hours, the reality can be very different. After all, there are multiple documents for referencing agencies to compile. If these are all sorted manually, as is the case with traditional solutions, then it all takes time.
There can also be hold ups with references from employers and landlords. Employers often put referencing requests at the bottom of their to-do lists. Meanwhile many landlords, especially the small ones with day jobs, often do the same. The result? Before you know it the process has taken a week a more.
Tenant referencing is also a drag for tenants. According to our research, 47% of them find it even more stressful than negotiations, removals, organising utilities, and registering with the local council. And who can blame them? There are application forms, payslips, bank statements, and a whole cast of supporting documents to organise. It’s much easier if, as with our own referencing service, the paperwork can be submitted online 24/7 from any device.
2. You have to chase updates
Traditional tenant referencing involves a lot of hard work for the referencing agency. There are referees to chase, documents to review, and information to verify. The whole process involves many people - which means high overheads and costs passed on to you.
Good digital tenant referencing solves this problem. By automating the checks, agents can simply review applications in their online dashboard; so there’s no more chasing the referencing company for updates.
Our digital tool presents all the results in a crystal clear and concise way. You can compare the information provided by the tenant and the referee - to see if everything checks out - and the results are displayed in a comprehensive final report with a traffic light system. Does your prospective tenant get the green light?
We’ve also included a Task Manager feature that keeps you abreast of all applications in progress. It lets you know where you are, and what needs to be done, without you having to check every application individually. This saves a whole heap of hassle.
3. The checks aren’t reliable enough
Traditional tenant referencing hasn’t changed much for years. Applicants provide some ID, go through credit checks, and arrange the necessary references. There’s just one problem: the fraudsters have changed.
These days, tricksters are especially devious. They use technology to fake landlord references, plus they sometimes ask colleagues from the office to pose as their boss. Consequently, that glowing reference with proof of income might prove dodgier than a Rolex bought at a flea market.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Our digital referencing tool includes pre-screening - so you get an immediate snapshot of an applicant’s suitability. More stringent investigations follow during the full referencing process, including anti-money laundering checks. We’ll also identify any CCJs, PEPs, sanctions or bankruptcies as well as doing the usual income checks and references. Nothing gets past us.
4. Applicants’ financial status is only assessed on income
Think that applicant with a six-figure salary looks appetising on paper? Don’t count your chickens. They won’t have two pennies to rub together if they spend it all on high fashion and fancy holidays.
Sadly bank statements and payslips – the usual barometers of solvency in the tenant referencing process – can only tell us so much. An applicant might have bags of money on the day their bank balance was checked but what about next week, next month, or even next year?
This is where Open Banking excels. It reveals an applicant’s spending habits, shows if their income and expenditure fluctuates, reveals whether they pay their utility bills consistently, and uncovers any red flags. Compulsive gamblers beware. We’ll be introducing this service soon.
5. It’s too expensive
Traditional referencing agencies charge approximate £15 per reference or more. That soon adds up. Meanwhile, although some cheaper digital alternatives can cost as little as £5 a pop, the service often suffers in comparison. Indirect costs can soar if your agency has to spend time replacing an unsuitable tenant.
That’s why the ‘headline cost’ doesn’t tell the whole story. A reliable digital referencing platform that integrates seamlessly with your current technology can be very cost-efficient. And never underestimate the value of having all the relevant information at your fingertips.
Our tenant referencing tool, for example, is a full digital solution that costs from just £7 per reference. The pre-screening tool allows you to filter out unsuitable candidates from the get-go, plus you can easily compare multiple applicants quickly to save time. What’s more, you can recoup money by referring tenants and landlords to our utility management and rent guarantee insurance services. So don’t think costs; think commissions.
Get in the fast lane
You have two options if your current tenant referencing process is grinding your gears: put up with the pedestrian or jump into our plush digital referencing sports car with its automatic gearbox. Our platform has been built from the ground up and is the perfect embodiment of Vorsprung durch Technik. You’ll know as soon as you look at its dashboard.
With software that makes navigation simple, going digital removes traditional barriers and provides a much more reliable and detailed overview of a candidate’s suitability. Tenants will love you for it too. Documents can be photographed and uploaded via the app on their preferred device. Indeed, our platform is completely optimised for mobile phones to make filling in those troublesome forms simple. Plus we can help them move with our free Home Setup Service.
The people who really matter, however, are your landlords. You might dislike tenant referencing. You might even dislike it a lot. But this frustration is nothing compared with the exasperation of being lumbered with a bad tenant. If that unauthorised dog chews up their carpet, your landlord will be chewing your ear off for weeks.