What Types of Background Checks Can Landlords Conduct on Tenants?

Renting a property can sometimes be an unnerving and stressful experience for both the tenant and the landlord. It can be overwhelming to submit the correct paperwork and forms within a deadline and ensure that the move goes smoothly. 

However, background checks are ultimately there to provide safety for both parties and eliminate any issues later on. 

The following blog will discuss what type of checks landlords can conduct on tenants and why they are necessary.

Criminal Record Checks

When it comes to criminal record checks, landlords are under no legal obligation to carry them out prior to welcoming new tenants. 

However, if a new tenant has an unspent conviction and the landlord has opted not to have a criminal record check carried out on the occupant prior to them moving in, the landlord's insurance may be invalidated. 

A Criminal Record Check, as minimal as a Basic DBS Check, could show whether the tenant has any unspent convictions. Investing in a check could prevent further harm later down the road.

Credit Checks

Credit checks are a very common step of the tenancy process. When an offer is accepted, landlords will have a credit check completed on all tenants prior to their move-in date. 

A credit check lets landlords know whether a tenant can pay rent consistently throughout their time in the property. Having one of these checks completed before the process is finalised gives landlords peace of mind that the tenants will not fall behind on paying their rent each month. 

Though a seemingly non-negotiable step in the process, credit checks can be quite costly for landlords to afford; however, many see the completion of these checks as necessary, regardless of cost, much like an investment into the renting of their property.

Employment Reference Checks

Employment reference checks are checks that landlords can request which gather references from a tenant’s previous employers to give them a sense of what the potential tenant is like in a working environment. 

For first-time renters, there are understandably no landlord references available. In this case, landlords will receive a reference from an employer to fill this space. 

The purpose of a landlord reference check is to distinguish whether the person in question has been a respectable tenant in the past. Factors such as not paying rent on time or at all, disrespecting the property and not adhering to property rules and guidelines could call for a negative landlord reference. 

An employment reference check is undertaken to establish whether or not the prospective tenant earns enough to pay the proposed rent. When an employer is contacted, they will be asked to disclose information regarding an employee’s salary and an overview of how they perform as an employee. 

The depth of the checks can vary between landlords depending on the knowledge they prefer to have of the potential tenant.

Guarantor Checks

A guarantor is an individual that is nominated to pay the rent on behalf of the tenant should they fail to make the appropriate payment. A guarantor is usually a member of the tenant’s family but can sometimes be a close friend and is ideally a homeowner themself. 

If the landlord doesn't deem the tenant a viable candidate on their own, they may ask the tenant/s to provide a guarantor or carry out guarantor checks before finalising the offer.

Landlords will often request that the tenant provides a guarantor when renting to students, individuals and families with lower incomes or other groups of people who may be in a less financially-stable situation.

Right to Rent Checks

Right to rent checks are compulsory in the UK. 

These checks are a legal obligation to check whether prospective tenants are legally allowed to rent a residential property in the United Kingdom. To do so, tenants must provide their landlords with a share code that has been presented to them by the government to prove their renting status. 

If you would like more information on share codes and right-to-work checks, please find our recent blog outlining all you need to know.

Background Checks From Eurocom CI

If you are a landlord renting your property or looking to step into renting properties, Eurocom CI have all the checks you need to make the process quick, easy and stress-free.

Please get in touch today if you would like more information on the many different checks we can offer.