Seeking Advice on Tenant Verification and Property Viewing Procedures

I have a potential tenant claiming to earn a sufficient multiple of the required income, having worked in the UK for two years. However, they’re refusing to provide six months’ bank statements for verification, citing privacy concerns, though they are willing to provide six months’ payslips.

They also want their cousin to view the property on their behalf due to their busy schedule. I insist that the actual tenants, or the couple who will be staying, should visit instead. I feel sending a cousin would be a waste of time. Any advice on how to handle this situation would be appreciated.

The prospective tenant raises a legitimate concern. Did you serve them your privacy notice before requesting to see their bank statements? Would it be possible for you to offer a virtual viewing?

Game. Over. Right. Here.

Why are you even asking us? Move on with other applicants even if they now comply with a) giving you statements and b) doing their own viewing.

Life’s hard enough. Imagine how demanding this person would be if you actually give them the tenancy.

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I would never let a property to someone I had not met. At a viewing you can talk to them and request that they provide essential information such as their ID. I would say no to this scenario.

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6 months statements Vs your house. What’s worth more to you?

Tenant definitely hiding something.

No statements, no House.

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Cancel and move on. No need to take these kind of risks.

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Asking for any personal data from a potential tenant should only be done after you have served them with your Data Privacy and Processing notice. You should also be registered with the ICO. There are very few exceptions to this rule if you are in any way storing other peoples’ personal data.

That said, asking a potential tenant if they are in a position to provide specific personal data is absolutely fine. I do this with all tenant enquiries and make it clear that they do not send me anything unless I tell them that I am starting referencing and after they have seen, signed and returned my DP&P notice. If you are using an estate agent and you never see any tenant data, you should be okay.

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Sorry mate, but that’s extremely bad advice. Agents can move anyone into your property. They aren’t usually too bothered whether they’re decent tenants or not. They just want the fees. Never, ever allow agents to install a tenant until you have been over all the paperwork and given them the green light. The agents work for you, not the other way round.

All LLs keep personal information about their tenants (whether they use an agent or not) and all LLs are advised to register with the ICO and give applicants a data notice. I do this at the start of a viewing when I ask them to show me proof of their identity. I get them to sign the data form, and I then email them a signed copy.

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I agree with what you say about agents. I’m not giving advice about interacting with agents (don’t if you can avoid it). I’m making statements about data privacy and obligations as a LL. There are plenty of LLs who use a fully managed service from estate agents and never actually request/take any client data directly. Most of my tenants have been in this position previously where they never contact the LL and the LL never contacts them. I know someone who is a UK citizen who spends a lot of time abroad and runs a BtL portfolio. He hasn’t seen or spoken to a tenant in over a decade. All managed by his agents. He is not registered with the ICO and nor does he need to be - he checked.

Say no, move on. Agree with the person above who said if they are difficult now, imagine what they will be like as a tenant.

Also suspicious about sending their cousin. Makes me wonder if they’re actually renting it on behalf of someone else.

Too many red flags.

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You legally have to conduct a right to rent, to do this you have to meet the prospective tenant.