First time LL - advice on tenants


I’m a first time LL and I have a super keen tenants who are a three-adults household (no children). They proactively sent the deposit to OpenRent even though I didn’t ask for it!

They work as cleaner, Uber driver, and food delivery - I have requested their six month bank statements and it approves their affordability and income sources. It also shows they have been paying their rent on time.

I have tried and contacted their current LL but haven’t heard anything back.

As things are already clear, I wondered if I still need to do a full referencing… (what extra information would I be able to get out from it?)

Anything else that I should be considering?

Many thanks

Yes do full referencing. Referencing only serves to confirm what you already know a cross reference.

I recommend you get employers’ work emails and talk to them to confirm role, length of employment, character and income first.

Is Uber self-employment?

Will this be an HMO? Have you checked with your LA about that?

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Thanks @tatemono

I don’t know if Uber driver and food delivery is self-employed.

That’s a good question about HMO - they claim they are a household and I just take that’s the case… I wondered how could I verify they are the same household (they say they are relatives/ have family relationships)

A reference check on each perspective tenant is well worth carrying out as it may uncover CCJs etc. . I’m not sure how you proceed regards the HMO issue but the fines are huge and you may have to pay back any rent for falling foul of the regulations
Because they have placed a holding deposit without your consent they have immediately put you under pressure and when this happened to me once, I returned the payment immediately.
I do always take a holding deposit prior to finally referencing an applicant and then if any false information has been supplied (by way of our application form) the deposit is forfeited by the applicant. As always regarding a new tenancy, if you do proceed , do so with caution.

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I would doubt that they are related and therefore this will be an HMO. Whether its licensable will depend on the policy of your local Council, but they are bringing in new schemes all the time, so you should assume that it if its not licensable now, it will be soon. I suspect that this is why they are so super keen as they’ve probably been turned down by other landlords who don’t want the hassle of an HMO.


First thing, return the deposit (since you didn’t ask for it). That’s what I would do.
Then carry out a reference check on each tenent via Openrent.
The reference check will tell you if they are related, give you info. on their employers, the bank statements, ID checks, plus any CCJs.
Then ask for who will be the Guarantor,
Then do a reference check on the Guarantor via Openrent.
This will give you most of the information you need to assess the risk and make a go or no go decision.

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I’d disagree with K1124’s order of steps. Before any referencing at all, save yourself a potential loss of £60+.

First, ask any of them who are self-employed for a copy of their self-assessment for the tax year 2022-2023 and the corresponding tax statement. If they are unable to provide one, it might be for two reasons which would disqualify them in my view: it might be that they aren’t actually declaring their income or alternatively haven’t worked in self-employment long enough. I wouldn’t financially trust any self-employed person who couldn’t provide me with a copy of a self-assessment.

At that point, you’ve saved yourself an awful lot of paperwork and some expense and you can move on to vetting other applicants.

If they do have self-assessments, also ask each of them for six months of bank statements and go over them in detail. Again, any doubts that arise from looking at these can be checked with them. You might find their cashflow is awful, for example.

Only if all the above give no reason to doubt them should you proceed to paying for referencing.


It is highly likely that you are that you are dealing with 3 unrelated individuals and not “a family”. If this is the case, and you proceed, you will be creating a HMO which carries a lot of risk.
The fact that the current landlord is silent is a warning sign.
You could ask for written signed evidence from them to prove that they are related and a family but personally I would return the holding deposit and search for other tenants .

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Just say no. It’ll save you money and stress

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There is a strict definition of a household.
What is a household?
A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

married or or living together as husband and wife (or in an equivalent relationship in the case of persons of the same sex)

relatives or half-relatives, including parents, step-parents, grandparents, children, step-children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins

A foster child living with their foster parent is treated as living in the same household as their foster parent.

Any domestic staff are also included in the household if they are living rent-free in accommodation provided by the person for whom they are working.

Quite a few councils now have additional license requirements, meaning 3 people not from the same household are an HMO and requires licensing

Have you even checked their nationality? Before you do anything else you need to ask and if foreign ask them for home office share code. Tbh you seem so inexperienced I worry for you.

Thanks @Graham . Yes I have checked their Home Office Right to Rent Share Code.

Thanks. I have check the HMO definitions. Private renting: Houses in multiple occupation - GOV.UK