How to verify that a referee details are genuine

Hello all,

I had a recent experience that made me doubt whether the email address I normally request to verify current and past landlord for the last 2 years (or more if the current landlord was the same in the last 2 years) can actually be a complete made-up email address. I am clearly referring to the reference process when you screen a tenant.

It is a personal email address and even if I do an online search to verify the identity of the supposed landlord either I can’t find anything about him or, even if I do, who tells me that he is indeed the landlord and not a friend or a complete made-up email address pretending to be the landlord?

Is there any private landlord out there taking control of this part of the reference process who is dealing with this matter in a different way than I do that gives you a little bit more peace of mind?

Thank you for your precious input,


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Of course easy to make up email address. I don’t see how you can be sure it’s a previous/current landlord. You can’t really start asking for proof.

Current landlord reference is useless in my opinion regardless as if a bad tenant they will not admit to it as they want rid.

I have found most useful references are previous estate agents.

12 months bank statements can tell you a lot. IE rent going out on time, also visiting where they live now.


Thanks Mark. I thought so but wanted to double-check in case I missed something.
Totally agreed that current landlords are not useful.
Interesting you ask for 12m bank statements. At the moment I’m asking for 6m but perhaps I should update this

mark10 is spot on.
i normally check my own references , these agency checkers are just box tickers and have no interest in anything further.
just have a list of say 5 questions but anything doesnt sound quite right drill down on that.
of course if a tenant is still in that landlords property and they want them out they may be reticent about mentioning the tenants shortcomings

Thanks. I do have my list of questions for the past landlord. The problem is that you have no guarantee you are actually speaking to the actual landlord. It is just a personal email address and when it gets to landlord reference checks it just dawned on me it is a pure matter of trust that the person replying is who they are supposed to be: the past landlord :slight_smile:
The landlord check is an important reference because if they are financially solvent but they wreck the flat that’s not good news…

Ask to see previous tenancy agreement with said Landlords name and address on it.

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Ah what a lovely idea! I would come across as a bit pedantic but this would definitely give me peace of mind. Thanks David

Do a land registry search on the previous landlords’ property to verify they are the owner.

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Good idea! Thanks Chris. Would you know if there is a charge for a Land Registry search?

i think it is £3. but not much

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Thanks Colin. That’s another good idea

I recall it was £2 a few years back, but Colin3 is probably more up to date.

Either way it’s a very cheap checking process.

Wonderful! Thanks Chris

That’s good idea, as I have been taken for a ride with landlord’s email. When the tenant left after a year without paying rent for the last 6 weeks and damaging the property, like lock, toilet seat and kitchen drawers broken, he did not want me as a referee. He had laughed and said referee are easy to get.

You don’t need an Official Copy which is admissible in court (£7) - just the £3 online Title Register of the address. (Unless it’s gone up in the last couple of years?)

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