Tenant referencing - new law

Under the new law can a Landlord ask the prospective tenant to get a reference check from a recommended source and pass the report to the Landlord.

If by ‘get’ you mean ‘pay for’, then no. That would be a prohibited payment.

Les put a few quid on the rent

Hi Sam,

Thanks for the reply. I asked this question because I have seen an agent do this in Scotland. Could you point me to the section in the new legislation that shows that this is illegal?

Hi Les, you can’t ask tenants to pay anything, except the permitted payments, unless it is truly optional. In this case, you are saying to the tenant that they can’t pursue the tenancy unless they make a payment to a third part (the referencing company). That is a prohibited payment.

This is the relevant section for letting agents, but it is the same for landlords.


That’s really useful, thanks.

I assume I can however ask a prospective tenant for proof of address, previous landlord information, earnings and employment status and whether they have a clean credit rating (ie no CCJs)?

I have in the past had prospective tenants that have failed the referencing checks so in future would like to do some pre-screening since I will be paying for the referencing if I accept an offer.

Yeah you can ask for this.

Les ALWAYS do prescreening , you can ask potential tenants when they message thru open rent the questions you want answers to. Then if you dont like the answers .reject them… Also those you meet ask the same questions and see if it tallys with what they first told you!! If it does not you know what to do.

It would be a good idea if there was an online pre-screening form for prospective tenants to fill out (with these questions) on openrent. It would look more official.

Hi Les, you can indeed send all tenants a standardised, automatic message including these kinds of questions when they send you an message or enquiry.

You can set up Pre-Screening Auto-Reply using the instructions on this page.

Hi Sam,

  The pre-screening Auto-reply system on Openrent is not really

what I am asking for. I don’t want to ask the questions at enquiry
time, but only when they show an intention to put in a holding
deposit. I don’t want to automatically reject any enquiry or
deposit, but if they intend to put down a deposit, the questions
(mentioned previously) will help me decide whether I wish to
accept the deposit and make it clear to the prospective tenant
that I will be checking these items.