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How to prepare your background reference check

What is a reference check?

First don’t be surprised by the “referencing” process you will be going through, which is a mix of verifying your identity and your credit worthiness. This process is standard in the London rental market, and is valid for everyone, whether British or foreigners.

The referencing is usually conducted by an independent agency, in order to verify that you will have the financial means to afford your monthly rent. You will need to agree in writing for these checks to take place.

Which references will be required?

In most cases, the referencing agency will check your annual salary with your UK employer, and ask your current landlord for a reference (positive, of course).

The information and documents that are generally required for the reference checks are as follows (although this may vary between agents) :

  • ID/Passport for each tenant
  • Proof of right to live in the UK for all adult occupiers, even if they are not named tenants.
  • Copy of a utility bill or bank statement as proof of your current address, which must be dated within the past three months
  • Name and contact details of your current landlord, if you are currently renting
  • Name and contact details of your employer in London
  • Employment contract in London, including annual gross salary

Who conducts the referencing?

The referencing agency contracted by the landlord will perform the checks and contact the referees (landlord, employer, etc.) with
your authorisation, before sending the information collected to the property owner for approval of your application.

To speed up this process, we advise you to notify your referees in advance.

How does it work?

You will be emailed a form to fill out online, where you can also upload your documents.

You can usually find a phone number to call if you have any issues whilst filling out the form.

How long does it take?

Most reference checks are completed within 48 hours, unless documents are missing. In that case, you would be contacted by the referencing agency to inform you that you need to provide additional information.

Once the checks have been completed, the estate agent and landlord will be notified. You probably won’t. It is worth contacting the estate agent after 48 to 72 hours to find out, if you haven’t heard anything.

What happens next?

If the referencing comes back positive, then you will receive a draft rental contract from the estate agent, the Tenancy Agreement.

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