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Frequently Asked Questions

1 Why should I Credit Check and Reference my tenants?

There's no absolutely guarantee but having an effective screening process, which includes having your tenants complete a comprehensive Tenancy Application Form and doing thorough credit & reference checks, considerably reduces your risk of taking on a problem tenant. Remember though, you also need to verify identity before you do the checks.

2 How can I verify my tenant's identity?

If you open a bank account or undertake any form of financial transaction you will be asked to verify your identity. This usually involves producing original copies of documents such as passports and driving licences (documents with photographs) for personal identity, plus bank statements and utility bills to verify address (residency) details. As a landlord or letting agent you should always verify a tenant's identity by having sight of these identity documents yourself - we do not need to see them - before doing credit checks. Use our ID Certificate

3 Why should I use TenantVERIFY®?

TenantVERIFY® was one of the first to offer an on-line tenant verification service. We believe we offer a high quality, cost effective and speedy service which satisfies the needs and safeguards the interests of busy landlords and letting agents. We are continually developing the capability of our on-line systems for speed, reliability and ease of use.

4 How does the TenantVERIFY® system work?

Go to TenantVERIFY.co.uk and register for a free account. Have your tenants complete one of our free down-loaded Tenancy Application Forms - keep this safe and secure for your future reference. Login to your account and submit the required information. Pay on-line though the NetBanx secure system. You will receive your detailed report by return.

5 How secure is the TenantVERIFY® system?

TenantVERIFY® is a LandlordZONE® independent service, a well respected name within the letting industry, a service helping landlords and letting agents since 1999. We pride ourselves on providing free comprehensive information and value-for-money services. We are members of the Safebuy web code of practice, we use Comodo SSL web site and e-mail security and the NetBanx secure on-line payment system. We are registered with HM Information Commission for Data Protection.

6 How long will it take to get the results?

Basic Checks are normally returned within two hours, if received within a working hours time frame. Comprehensive Checks, which involve us making contact with, and getting replies from, referees, are targeted at 2 working days maximum. Fast Comprehensive Checks are available at a premium price where we will attempt to verify references the same day, providing the application is submitted before 12 noon. Our working hours are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

7 When is a guarantor required?

Guarantors provide an extra element of security for the landlord by guaranteeing to pay rent or damages should the tenant default. Guarantors are usually required when the tenant:

  • is a student or unemployed
  • is in receipt of Housing Benefit. A pre-tenancy determination which is equal to at least 85% of the rental amount will be required by the local authority Housing Officer
  • has not been in continuous full-time employment for at least 6 months.
  • has a rental commitment which is more than 40% of annual income
  • has recently arrived from overseas to take up employment
  • has an adverse credit history
  • has failed a TenantVERIFY Basic or Comprehensive Check.

Note: Guarantors must have seen and approved the rental agreement before signing a legally binding deed of guarantee.

8 Tenant's Previous Address

It is important to include the tenant's previous addresses on the application form for a period of at least 6 years. This is because linked addresses may contain additional credit history and/or adverse credit information which may not show up on their current address, particularly if they have not been at their present address long.

9 Can I take out Rent Guarantee Insurance on my tenant or tenants?

Yes, providing each and every tenant on the tenancy agreement (all adult occupants) are successfully referenced using a TenantVERIFY Comprehensive Check. The onus is on the landlord / agent to make absolutely sure that a successful Comprehensive Check is obtained on a tenant BEFORE taking out rent guarantee insurance. Please note, an unqualified pass must be obtained - in the green zone - anything less will result in invalid insurance cover.

10 What if my tenant fails or is given a Caution on the Comprehensive Check - can I still take out Rent Guarantee?

You can take a deposit guarantee on the tenancy if there is a caution on the Comprehensive Check providing the tenant has a guarantor. The guarantor must pass a Comprehensive Check - in the green zone - and there must be no unsatisfied County Court Judgments (CCJs) against the tenant.

11 Multiple Tenants - Should I check them all?

You should always have ALL adult residents on your tenancy agreement – they are all tenants. Otherwise you could have a situation where the main tenant leaves, leaving a non tenant in residence, with no agreement, no proof of tenancy and unable to easily gain possession. If you are intending taking out Rent or Deposit Guarantee Insurance you need a Comprehensive check on all adult residents. However, if one main tenant is paying the rent you may decide to do a Comprehensive Check on that one tenant and optionally a basic one on the other/s.

12 Multiple Tenants and Rent Guarantee? My tenancy includes three adult tenants.

You can take out rent guarantee insurance on the tenancy for the normal price, providing ALL the tenants pass - in the green zone - a TenantVERIFY Comprehensive Check.

13 Housing Benefit Tenants and Rent Guarantee

In the case of Housing Benefit tenants, all tenants on the tenancy and the rent guarantee policy must be credit checked and referenced and pass a TenantVERIFY Comprehensive Check - in the green zone. Where tenant/s fail the Comprehensive Check with a caution - a guarantor is then required. The Guarantor must stand surety for the whole amount of the rent and must independently pass the Comprehensive Check. There must be no unsatisfied CCJs against the tenant.

14 The Rent Guarantee Insurance is for 12 months - what if my tenancy is for 6 months only?

Providing you replace your existing tenant or tenants with newly referenced (Comprehensive Check) tenants, your existing insurance policy can continue for 12 months. Cancellations can be refunded pro rata subject to an administration fee.

15 What if I wish to cancel the policy after 6 or 9 months?

In that case, where a tenancy has ended and is not being replaced, you can apply for a pro-rata refund, less a £10 administration fee.

16 Rent Guarantee - My Tenant did not pass?

Where prospective tenant/s fail the Comprehensive Check with a caution - blue zone - the report will sometimes recommend you use a guarantor. Providing the guarantor then passes the Comprehensive Check you are then eligible for rent guarantee insurance on the tenancy, providing there are no unsatisfied CCJs against the tenant. Failure to comply will mean your insurance is not valid.

17 I don't think my tenant will pass a Comprehensive Check - can I take out insurance with a Check on the guarantor only?

The tenants must be checked first. If the tenant/s fail with a caution - in the blue zone - you can take out rent guarantee insurance with a guarantor, providing the tenant/s have no unsatisfied CCJs.

18 I have a tenant coming from abroad - can I take out Rent Guarantee Insurance?

Providing a foreign tenant passes the TenantVERIFY® Comprehensive International Check - yes you can obtain Rent Guarantee & Legal Protection Insurance on your foreign tenant.

19 I have an existing tenant - can I take out Rent Guarantee Insurance?

You can take out rent guarantee insurance on an existing tenant, but there is a 90 day excess period before you can make a claim. Also, the tenant must have passed a Comprehensive Check - in the green zone - BEFORE the tenancy started. The alternative to that is to wait until you renew the tenancy agreement - providing your tenant passes the Comprehensive Check - in the green zone - you will be able to take out a new rent guarantee policy.

20 Divulging Confidential Information

I am concerned that my tenant or guarantors will not want to divulge salary, bank account and other quite personal details. Will this be a problem?

This is a question we are occasionally asked and landlords or agents quite naturally feel they are being intrusive. However, look at it this way: you are handing over an asset and giving a legal interest in a property which is worth perhaps £100,000 or much more. If you go to your bank or building society for a loan you will be asked just as many personal questions, if not more.

You really do need to make sure that your tenants can afford the rental or that your guarantor can afford to pay the rent if your tenant defaults.

Unfortunately, we cannot give you a recommendation without this information. We find that in practice, as this process is so common and generally accepted nowadays, and as this process is approved as a necessary requirement by the Information Commissioner's Office under the Data Protection Act, very few people object.

Of course, the onus in on landlords and letting agents to convince tenants and guarantors that the information is kept totally secure and confidential and in accordance with the Data Protection Act principles. If tenants refuse you can understand their reluctance, with identity theft in mind, but also you have got to ask yourself: have they got something to hide?

21 Why do the printed forms ask for more information that the on-line forms?

Our printed forms are often more comprehensive and request more details that our on-line forms. We can complete all the necessary checks with the information requested on the on-line forms. The reason the printed forms sometimes ask for more information is purely for the benefit of the landlord / agent in case they have problems with the tenancy in the future - rent arrears, abandonment, disputes etc. This is when the additional information is very useful.

Of course you are using our system to try to eliminate these problems, but there are no absolute guarantees - tenancies can and do go wrong whatever checks you do, though our checks cut down these risks considerably. Completed forms should be signed by the tenant, giving you legal permission to do the checks, and the hard copy should be kept securely for future reference, for as long as the information is relevant. Afterwards the information should be securely destroyed - in-line with Data Protection Act principles.

22 Why do you ask for Bank details on the forms?

We request prospective tenants' bank details because most landlords / agents will be arranging standing order payments and therefore these details will be needed. Also, should there be subsequent problems with payments it is very useful information for the landlord / agent. Providing these details to us on the on-line application form is optional but when you do provide them we can verify that the bank account in that name actually exists.

23 Is there a way I can get my tenants to complete the application form on-line to save me the task?

At this time, no, but we are working on a system which will allow this very soon.

24 My Rent Guarantee policy requires me to do checks with an agency using Experian or Equifax. Can you confirm you use either of these companies to carry out your checks?

We use all the major credit reference agencies including Call Credit, Experian and Equifax and sometimes more than one when a verification is needed.

25 My report has come back with a caution saying my tenant cannot be located at the address/s provided - what should I do?

When a tenant cannot be located at the address/s provided additional information should be sought. Proof of residence and further identity checks should be carried out and additional checks made to ensure that there are no County Court Judgments (CCJs) regsitered for the tenant at any previous addresses up to 6 years.

26 What is a FICO Score?

FICO is the acronym for Fair Isaac Corporation, a publicly-traded corporation in the U.S which developed a method of credit scoring now widely used and recognised among the main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian etc) as a FICO score. They calculate a borrower's credit score based on information held on the individual's credit file using their own different computational formulas and statistical methods to determine a credit-worthiness score.