Cost of referencing - who bears it?

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  • Cost of referencing - who bears it?

    I want to use one of the companies advertised on this site - tenant verify. I'm wondering if it is fair to pass the cost on to the tenant or whether it is something I should bear. What do you do?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Make the tenants pay - it's easy to demonstrate to them that they are paying a standard fee to a 3rd party and you can impress upon them that it's best if its done by an independent company for fairness and thoroughness, plus it's much cheaper than an agency would charge to the tenants to undertake this.

    You also have to consider why you would want to pay this fee only to discover from the results of the Tenant Verify report that they are a credit risk, have fibbed about their income or their last Landlord say they are a nightmare - why should you bear the cost of finding out that they are not good tenants?

    Perhaps a final reason is that the tenants reponse to this reasonable request, the quality of the form that they complete and the turnaround in getting it back from them may also indicate how they may act as tenants - it's quite a simple piece of paperwork so if they can't get their act together for this, to secure them the tenancy, what are they going to be like when it comes to reporting repairs or other basic tenant admin? It's perhaps not a great test but it can help form an impression.

    I once paid the Tenant Verify fee out of my own pocket only for 3 tenants to subsequently withdraw from moving in so I kissed goodbye to £100 for nothing. Also, they dragged their feet when submitting the form - nearly 2 weeks to complete and return to me a simple form. It flagged up to me that they were not as keen to commit to the tenancy despite insisting to the contrary each time I phoned them. Learn from my mistake.

    So when the tenants agree to complete it, set and stick to a reasonable deadline for its return and you may want to consider letting them know you won't withdraw the property from being viewed by other parties until the results are known.

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    • #3
      I agree with everything else you say except this bit .. what if a person is dyslexic and they have difficulty in writing as neatly as you would like? Would this indicate to you that they are unsuitable as tenants ???????

      My daughter is dyslexic and she hates her handwriting and spelling. She's also a professional medical practicioner which would hardly make her an unsuitable tenant purely on the basis of the "quality of the form she completes! "

      [QUOTE=Beeber;21899]
      the quality of the form that they complete
      QUOTE]
      Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

      Comment


      • #4
        Just personal preference, I'd say. Beeber's points are very valid and I wouldn't disagree.

        Personally I do all the referencing myself except for the credit check obviously, which costs me £10 per address (checked from the RLA). I don't pass on that cost as I use as a selling point, to compete with lets from agencies, the fact that I don't charge applicants any fees. (Have to say I'm not sure whether or not it works!)

        I do ask for a £100 holding deposit when applicants fill out the form; I tell them that is forfeit if they change their minds and pull out after that point; but if I reject them they get it back. Seems to deter timewasters OK!

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        • #5
          [QUOTE=pippay;21903]I
          My daughter is dyslexic and she hates her handwriting and spelling. She's also a professional medical practicioner which would hardly make her an unsuitable tenant purely on the basis of the "quality of the form she completes! "

          Originally posted by Beeber View Post
          the quality of the form that they complete
          QUOTE]
          Of course dyslexia does not make the tenant unreliable and Landlords are not known for penalising tenants for matters of grammar, punctuation and spelling on the paperwork and that is not what I meant to imply.

          But if tenants are slow to return the tenancy verification forms, don't complete half the fields and don't attach the required supporting ID documents as the form instructs, then it potentially flags up that when it comes to reporting repairs, for example, the show a similar lack of care - i.e. be slow to raise them to the Landlords attention, fail to provide full and accurate information and so on.

          I'm talking about how their attitude to the Tenant Verify form and process may reflect their larger attitude to matters of Tenancy admin.

          If the tenants aren't keen and cooperative with this particular initial process, it may be an early indicator of future lethary and a weak relationship with the Landlord. It's hardly a fool-proof guide to their reliability but it could form part of the first impression.

          I made an expensive mistake with my first tenants which I haven't repeated. I made a different mistake my one of my second group of tenants with their completion of the form and I am paying for that one now (I consented to his request not to approach his last brief landlord, allegedly a social misfit/psycho type, and restricted my reference to their long-term previous LL which was positive. Retrospectively, this request was probably to conceal their own social problems as they are a now a repeated nuisance to their fellow tenants).

          This is why I am keen to adhere to thorough and strict tenant screening process with no compromises whatsoever, why I feel that their attitude to it is very revealing, why I feel they should pay and why I am no longer flexible in any regard to it.

          I know I made mistakes but I also know that I screened out mighty big liars and I am confident the process works because of the number of prospective tenants who dropped out at the mention of the Tenant Verify service - they were initially very keen on viewing the property and tended to withdraw when I made it clear that there would be a comprehensive ID and credit checks.

          Comment


          • #6
            As I said previously Beeber, I totally agree wth the rest of your statement .. it was only that one sentence that you perhaps didn't explain very well. Thank you for clarifying!
            Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

            Comment


            • #7
              Personally I do all the referencing myself except for the credit check obviously, which costs me £10 per address (checked from the RLA). I don't pass on that cost as I use as a selling point, to compete with lets from agencies, the fact that I don't charge applicants any fees. (Have to say I'm not sure whether or not it works!)

              Excuse my ignorance (new to this game), but how excatly does one do all the referencing oneself?

              And what is this RLA you are checking?

              Thanks.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lochaber_lass View Post
                Excuse my ignorance (new to this game), but how excatly does one do all the referencing oneself?

                And what is this RLA you are checking?
                Erm - simply that I personally contact the applicant's current employer, their current/previous landlord, plus a character referee rather than pay someone else to do it.

                RLA = Residential Landlord's Association (see http://www.rla.org.uk/rla.exe?input=.../tenantRef.htm)
                Last edited by Ericthelobster; 01-09-2006, 22:37 PM. Reason: typo

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