I rent a flat out privately in central London and have used OpenRent for a few years now (although only the current tenant came this way). I always ask for evidence of income. Preference is for last 3 months’ payslips, contract of employment and previous tax return in that order. I do not ask for bank statements as they contain more information than you need or should know about your tenant. I explain that I have a duty to ensure that the rent is affordable for the tenant and that any disclosed documents are for my use only and will not be disclosed to any other party without the tenant’s permission. I do all of this in writing. If an employed tenant feels uncomfortable doing this I ask for their employer’s HR/payroll dept contact details and obtain confirmation of affordability through them in writing. The current tenant works for an internet startup and is an EU national. He didn’t want to provide income information but agreed to having a guarantor. His guarantor supplied proof of employment and wage slips. These checks take only a little time and effort but are worth it for peace of mind and to let the tenant know that you are not just a money-grabbing landlord. I also do reference checks with previous landlord/agent and current employer. These are quick and easy and I do not charge for them.
Firstly i can confirm you should be obtaining at least the last 3months bank statements and payslips including i.d for your own checks regardless.
You should also be GDPR Registered anyway.
And i find it easier to pay NLA Tenant check and action them to deal directly with the tenant so i just get back the results as well as me also carrying out due diligence by obtaining further landlord and employer references myself in tandem to the checks taking place.
This procedure should be basic PROTOCOL regardless to ensure you get what you think your getting.
The law of the land is going further and further towards favouring the tenant. Why on earth shouldn’t landlords wish to see proof of income? How else can they determine whether the tenant is likely to be able to pay the rent?
i am currently landlord but i have been a tenant for a very long time… and i wouldn’t like to be asked for my bank statements!! Would you?! it’s violation of privacy as you can literally see where one go, what they eat etc.
3 months payslips as proof of income should be more than acceptable.
At the end of the day for me it’s more judgement of character: for me it’s important that the tenant seems reasonable and hands on. My last tenants was fixing stuff himself when he could and even did the viewings for me as i don’t live locally.
And i also allow pets!
Just because a tenant has 3 month payslips does not mean that they are a prudent person and have a good “backup” in the bank. I use experian also But I want to check the checkers. so I want to at least see their payslip How much they are bringing home is the key. You can then use your own judgment ,You know the rent cost rates utilites car etc and judge for youself. if they have enough left to live on … Laura 12 I am self employed( 50 years). When I went for a mortgage the Building society ask for 3 years accounts. I have no problem showing estate agents my bank statement to prove I can buy a property as I have done so in the last month, if you are genuine why be worried
There is potentially a lot more benefits to be seen from a bank statement.
Yes I accept it a lot of personal information - but a Tenant is expecting a landlord to release £100,000 PLUS of property to someone they’ve never met !
I’d look how much money is left in their account before the next pay hits, are they always near the wire, did they pay their rent on time, are there regular payments from a named individual - which might signify they were sub-letting ?
due-diligence is always needed regardless.
One needs to calculate how much money their property is worth, then imagine this is all in cash, then one can imagine letting a stranger sit on your cash and then and only then can one truly comprehend what checks one needs to do or just to trust a stranger on face value.
This is what i think which helps me decide what i should do, hence i immediately joined the NLA and paid the GDPR and carry out all the necessary checks on a tenants accordingly to try and account for any damage liabilities as things never go wrong until they go wrong and then thats when your checks ultimately pay off.
Please do note that if you allow your potential tenant to undergo the tenancy checks themselves directly with the tenant check company, then thats fine but you should choose the tenancy check company and probably pay then pass on your potential tenant details for the application to be carried out, you can use such like NLA Tenant Checks rather than allowing a tenant to just hand you a tenant check document from a prior date for instance.
And in all instances then you as a Landlord should also be obtaining the same data your self for your file such as last 3months bank statements/payslips, landlord reference, work reference, passport etc, this is an absolute must as a minimum requirement for any professional Landlord in the UK.
Dogs too, but probably not more than 2 dogs, preferably just 1. it’s a combination of what breed they are, what breed the owners are… etc. I could put tighter conditions like larger deposit or ask for deeper professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy. i have also obviously eliminated any carpet in the property. Basically i prefer to judge every single situation, rather than set the bar stupid high and maybe end up with a crazy rich spoiled child in the house… No one can give you reference of character, you just have to go and meet the person.
BTW, the house is now rented to a young professional couple with 3 cats. I will let you know how it goes!!
Laura as a Landlord you should be acting professionally and should be displaying due diligence regardless, there should be no emotion as you described as this is business and business should not be emotional i.e. based on feeling, gut, face value etc.
Please note from experience my words that things are never an issue until they become an issue and with property when you have an issue it can be financially crippling for the landlord.
BTW i have had a house in London empty for well over 2yrs now with -£0 rent income and a loads of outgoings for instance and still no light at the end of the tunnel.
I shall never again accept anything less than 3 months bank and payslips and credit checks and ll reference & employer reference and passport, however i usually obtain much much more data in reality like social media checks etc
Please also remember as Colin states that a payslip is easy to make/obtain/falsify hence it should only imply they have a salary as it is the bank statement which is needed to a-company the payslip in order to validate it and further as Colin covers i agree and expand that you need to remember that you have a property worth how much? = £500,000 for example yet if you had the same amount in cash in your bag would you hand that over to the tenant too i wonder, i think not.
i thinks some Landlords, more-so the inexperienced ones don’t really comprehend fully that they have something which is worth a lot, hence it needs protecting a lot as when your tenants burn it down or invite bed bugs/termites and your gets stripped down to the brickwork and un-rented for years as i have had before then it can be fully understood yet better you lear from our mistakes in advance and be smarter and wiser quicker.
I have recently had a similar experience in that i spend a longtime toying with accepting pets in a HMO yet it turned out to be way to risky as Colin mentioned that not ever tenant is guaranteed to like/want pets, it got messy for me so now i defiantly won’t be accepting any pets for any HMO with independent AST’s.
it’s not HMO, it’s a small two bed house (or one and half as I call it). The only factor would be the next tenant having allergies, but i guess there are more tenants with pets… saying that, i do charge ~10% more compared to value, because of pets.
I don’t judge by emotions, but i trust myself as a good judge of character. i have been sharing and renting houses for years! I know squatters and people from all course of lives, so i kinda developed and sixth sense for it.
I do not say that everyone should do as i do, i just think that i have spotted a gap in the market and i am the right person to take a calculated risk. But i do appreciate the recommendations @andrew8 is giving. Probably because i only have that one property, i cut down costs of agency (thanks to open rent) and i look at the income of the last 4 years of continuous tenancy, with a lovely couple that was just grateful to be in a nice house with their furry loved ones, which i am sure were cleaner than if they had kids!