How Landlords Can (And Need To) Reduce Tenant Referencing Costs!


It happened. And no one should be surprised. It was a certainty.

After the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act, letting agents, predictably, didn’t waste any time redirecting their hefty Tenant Referencing Fees onto landlords. A fee traditionally (and forcefully) rammed down the throats of tenants.

So who will it impact? Almost every landlord in England, and every Landlord in the UK that uses an Online Letting Agent. Your tenant acquisition costs will soar; you’ll shout, you’ll weep, and you’ll wonder why something so tragic is happening to someone so beautiful.

But fear not, I’ve got a money-saving tip that will even make Martin Lewis cream his knickers. (I swear to God, he’s dead to me if he doesn’t. ONE lousy droplet will suffice!)

How much?

Every property blogger/publisher should have welcomed the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (aka ‘The Tenant Fee Ban’) with open arms, because it’s provided us with enough material to keep us astray from our Kryptonite, writer’s block, for at least a decade.

So hopefully, even if only temporarily, our industry news feed will be sparse of the generic and garbage articles on how the property market is either nose-diving or rocketing, based on horseshit surveys that no one really gives a flying-crumpet about.

It won’t.

Either way, I’m taking advantage of the gold rush: this is the second blog post I’ve published with in one month (because of the Tenant Fees Act 2019), and I must admit, I’m rather enthusiastic about sharing this one.

Sadly, the last time I produced this much output and carried this much enthusiasm was when I was knee-high to an antelope, and didn’t require ointments and pills to have a good time. Or at least, give someone else a mediocre time.

Before I go any further, I should clarify, this blog post is most likely going to be most insightful for self-managing landlords that use online agents to find tenants. For everyone else, while the chances of walking away with saving a buck is slimmer, there’s definitely food for thought on offer, so you may as well loiter.

Online Letting Agents & Tenant Referencing Services

I’ve always despised how most letting agents, both high-street and online, used to strategically list “tenant referencing” into their core service, like it’s included in the service we, landlords, are paying for! Most of them NEVER ever made it clear that tenants are either paying for it, or contributing towards the costs.

The small-print, which was typically tucked away in a wasteland, designed to be starved of oxygen and daylight can kiss my ass. It doesn’t count.

The marketing was so misleading that many landlords didn’t even realise tenants were being charged, usually an extortionate amount, on the other end. That really used to get on my tired old sagging tits.

Agents always talk a big game about changing the industry for the better with transparency, but it’s mostly all bullshit, because they don’t even bother changing the simple things. There is ALWAYS elements of politics taking lead.

Anyways, long-live the tenancy fee ban! It’s just a shame that a law needed to be introduced to encourage basic transparency.

As many of you already know, I work with a lot of [the best] Online Letting Agents, so as soon as the ‘tenant fee ban‘ came into force, I quickly became aware of the movers and shakers; almost all online agents reshuffled their products and fees to comply with the new Act. They needed to recoup their losses from somewhere.

For those of you who use Online Letting Agents to find tenants, I don’t know how transparent your preferred supplier has been with you about their updates, but I suspect they didn’t invite you into their HQ to give you a feature length presentation on how their prices were on the verge of rocketing, so there’s a good chance you’ve been blissfully unaware of the changes.

Either way, not to worry, because the purpose of this blog post is to share the changes I’ve been notified of, which I hope you’ll find not only intriguing, but also useful information for when making future decisions.

On a sidenote, there’s a very good chance this will rub some of my affiliate partners the wrong way. I hope it doesn’t, but it might! In my defence, I’ve never hidden the fact that my allegiance is to you.

Tenant Referencing Costs For Landlords Before & After Tenant Fee Ban
Note: all prices have been based on promos/discount codes available from the main online letting agent blog post.
Online Letting AgentBeforeAfterPackage / NotesTenant-find package + Referencing CostPrice Increase (%)
Pre Tenant Fee Ban Act
£0
Post Tenant Fee Ban Act
£75Per tenant

UChoose package

*based on available 56% discount code.

Tenant-find Package + Referencing Cost
*£179
Price Increase (%)
53%
Pre Tenant Fee Ban Act
£0
Post Tenant Fee Ban Act
£1052 x tenant

DIY package

*percentage increase based on 1 x tenant referencing (£52.5) in order to make a fair comparison.

Tenant-find Package + Referencing Cost
£204
Price Increase (%)
*42%
Pre Tenant Fee Ban Act
£0
Post Tenant Fee Ban Act
£20Per tenant

Plus package

*based on available £15 discount code.

Tenant-find Package + Referencing Cost
*£84
Price Increase (%)
27%
Pre Tenant Fee Ban Act
£0
Post Tenant Fee Ban Act
£49Per tenant

Find a Tenant package

*based on available £20 discount code.

Tenant-find Package + Referencing Cost
*£178
Price Increase (%)
19%
Pre Tenant Fee Ban Act
£20Per tenant
Post Tenant Fee Ban Act
£20Per tenant

Free Trial Package

OpenRent used to give the option for landlords to pass the £20 cost onto tenants, but that has now been removed.

*5 day free trial, then option of continuing service for 3 months – which is £24 (Inc VAT) for new customers, and £29 (Inc VAT) for returning customers! So you’ll need to add an additional £20 for referencing if you continue after the trial.

Tenant-find Package + Referencing Cost
*£20
Price Increase (%)
0%
Pre Tenant Fee Ban Act
£0
Post Tenant Fee Ban Act
£40Per tenant

Express package

Package includes 1 x Tenant Reference.

Tenant-find Package + Referencing Cost
£49
Price Increase (%)
0%
Pre Tenant Fee Ban Act
£71.25Per tenant
Post Tenant Fee Ban Act
£71.25Per tenant

IATA Essential package

*based on available 5% discount code.

Tenant-find Package + Referencing Cost
*£165.3
Price Increase (%)
0%

Once again: all promos/discount codes available from the main online letting agent blog post. All the suckers’ that aren’t subscribers of this blog will have to dig deeper and pay the non-discounted sucker price.

What you should note about the changes…

  1. While the ‘Tenant Fee ban’ only applied to landlords and letting agents in England, this WILL impact all UK Landlords that use online letting agents. The agents have made wholesale changes to their fees and packages, which apply across the board to every customer, regardless of their BTLs location. Basically, it’s become a standard for landlords to cover the referencing fees, not an exception.
  2. In almost all cases, tenant referencing has now become an optional “add-on”, whereas before, it was part of the core Tenant-Find package.

    Ultimately, many of the agents have ever so quietly snatched away “Tenant referencing” from the feature-list of their tenant-find packages, which previously came included as standard.

    The fact it’s now an ‘add-on’ feature is significant, which I’ll explain in more detail shortly.

  3. Referencing costs now accounts for quite a big percentage – in some cases the BIGGEST – of the overall cost for finding a new tenant.

    Referencing is now a relatively expensive cost.

  4. Fair play to ‘I Am The Agent’, they’re the only agent that have always charged landlords with the referencing fees (from what I’m aware of, anyways). Their packages didn’t need to adapt to the new legal requirements.

Tenant Referencing just became expensive (potentially)

So, here’s the dilemma.

Referencing has become a potentially expensive game, simply because it’s perfectly normal for landlords to conduct multiple references for a single tenancy, which can include referencing a short-list of applicants (i.e. prospective tenants that passed the preliminary checks), or referencing more tenants than originally anticipated due to deals collapsing. Standard stuff.

But that means we may end up having to purchase several tenant referencing checks in order to successfully fulfil a single tenancy.

I know, I know! How the fuck am I meant to feed my family with those expenses burning a hole in my pocket, let alone turn a profit?

It seems backwards that referencing has become more expensive than the actual marketing costs – listing your rental on Rightmove & Zoopla. But maybe that’s how it should have always been; perhaps I’m just struggling with change more than anything else.

I guess one solution is to be more rigorous with your short-listing protocol so you limit the amount of referencing required to one or two. But in real practise, I can’t see that being sustainable for every tenancy. If only the process of finding a good tenant was so forgiving.

Standalone Tenant Referencing Services – The Solution!

It sticks out like a sore thumb, so you probably noticed the big discrepancy between the referencing prices. For example, OpenRent charge £20 per tenant, while Upad charge £75 (I’m picking on those two fools’ because they’re the most popular online letting agents).

I’m not going to get weighed down by the difference in service; Upad may or may not provide more for their service. But from my experience, referencing services generally return the same information, and the differences are typically either negligible or subjective. I suppose we can squabble about it, but I’ll probably lose interest before combat, so the odds are it will just result in me flirting with you instead.

In any case, the substantial price differentials got the ol’ cogs turning.

Most importantly, I’m not here to tell you which online agent to use. I have no donkey in this race. We all have our favourites, and I’m not asking you to switch based on referencing fees. Although, I wouldn’t blame anyone for jumping ship for that reason. That’s a perfectly reasonable step to take given the circumstances, YOU SLIMY LITTLE TRAITOR! JUDAS!

No, I’m only joking.

Traitor.

In light of the pricing hikes, I just want to cover an alternative route that you may want to consider, which could potentially save you a small fortune on referencing fees.

If you have a preferred online agent which has stabbed you in the heart by introducing hefty referencing fees to their menu – but you’re still reluctant to let go, despite the abuse – you could always continue using their core service (i.e. Rightmove/Zoopla marketing services) in conjunction with a significantly cheaper third-party referencing service. Remember, referencing has become an optional extra (in all the cases I’ve seen), so it means we’re not obligated to use the referencing service supplied by our agent.

For example, I know a buttload of you are faithful Upad’ers. I get it. Their service is fabulous and that’s precisely why I promote them like they’re my own son.

Alas, the number one reason for family disputes is financially driven.

The Lord knows I love my son. But fuck £75 per reference! My dick-pills and dick-ointments don’t pay for themselves! A couple of references will set me back 150 nuggets. That seems is excessive.

Given that you may share my sentiments, you might feel compelled to give Upad’s referencing service the big middle finger (or any other agent that is providing referencing services for at a comparatively expensive rate), and opt for a standalone referencing service from another supplier, to complement Upad’s brilliant core service.

TheHouseShop and OpenRent are examples of two online agents that offer standalone Tenant Referencing Services at reasonable rates. I’ve been sharing both their referencing services long before the Tenant Fee Act was introduced, mainly for the rebellious sect of landlords that don’t use any form of letting agent. For example, landlords that use classified websites like Gumtree and Craigslist, or those that still rely on localised marketing etc. Prehistoric methods, but apparently they remain to be effective classics… in villages that have a population of 10, where everyone is cousins.

However, with the introduction of the tenant fee ban and the impact it’s had, the standalone referencing options have become a lot more useful for the mainstream landlord, so here are a couple of options:

Standalone Tenant Referencing Services
SupplierNotesPrice
Notes / Includes

Fast Credit Check
  • Results within one hour*
  • Credit check
  • Bankruptcy data
  • Residency & address confirmation
  • Electoral roll checks
  • Alias name search
  • Previous addresses linked

*subject to tenants response times

Price

£5
Inc VAT

Normal price: £9.99
More Info
50% Discount Code: PIPBASICTR18

Notes / Includes

Full Tenant Referencing
  • Choose who pays (tenant or landlord)
  • 2 working days (on average)
  • Credit check
  • Bankruptcy data
  • Residency & address confirmation
  • Electoral Roll check
  • Alias name search
  • Previous addresses linked
  • Employment verification
  • Income references (verbal confirmation)
  • ID verification
  • Previous landlord references
  • Affordability calculation
  • CCJ search
Price

£12.50
Inc VAT

Normal price: £24.99
More Info
50% Discount Code: PIPFULLTR18

Notes / Includes

Speedy Reference
  • 1 Working Day (on average)
  • Credit Check
  • Linked Address, Identity & Fraud Information
  • CCJs, Decrees, and other court information
  • Right to Rent Check and Advice
  • Bankruptcy data
  • Electoral Roll check
  • Alias name search
  • View sample report
Price

£20
Inc VAT
More Info
Notes / Includes

Comprehensive Reference
  • 3-5 Working Days (on average)
  • Rent Guarantee Insurance Eligible
  • Credit Check
  • Linked Address, Identity & Fraud Information
  • CCJs, Decrees, and other court information
  • Right to Rent Check and Advice
  • Affordability Rating
  • Previous Landlord Reference
  • Employers Reference
  • Bankruptcy data
  • Electoral Roll check
  • Alias name search
  • View sample report
Price

£20
Inc VAT
More Info

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each service up-to-date, but you should read the T&C’s from their website for the most up-to-date information.

I don’t need to do the maths for you (I’ll probably dick it up, anyways); it’s easy to see how it’s possible to save a small fortune in certain scenarios.

You can even mix ‘n match referencing services. For example, you can drag a handful of promising prospective tenants through the £5 ‘Fast Credit Check’ offered by TheHouseShop instead of splashing out on the more premium solutions for every prospect. Based on those results, you can then run the more comprehensive referencing solutions on the final short-list.

You get my point, right?

Before anyone jumps on my hairy back and starts screaming, “what about [insert referencing service]”, I’m going to hopefully STOP you in your tracks! I’m sure there are many, many more wonderful referencing services, I’m not questioning that. My objective is to simply highlight the concept of using a standalone referencing service in order to make relatively big savings. You can pick-up the ball and run in any which direction. Hell, I’ll even try and get you a discount code if you let me know which service you wish to use.

To avoid any backlash, I think it’s also important that I re-emphasise want I previously said in my original “Tenant Fees Act 2019” post, where I anticipated the impact: the diversion of referencing fees really shouldn’t sink any ships or trigger any massive financial implications! Yes, referencing is now relatively expensive when using an Online Agent, but we’re not talking crazy money in the grand scheme of things. No one should need to sell a kidney. I don’t want us to lose perspective.

What about High-street Letting Agents?

*dunno*

High-street agents in England will have also redirected their referencing fees onto landlords, but I suspect most of them won’t give you the option of using third-party referencing services. Or if they do, I doubt they’ll openly advertise it.

I really don’t have any facts or figures to hand, but if we allow history to dictate, I can’t see this panning out nicely for landlords that rely on high-street agents.

If you are faithful to the high-street agent – and there’s nothing wrong with that – then I highly recommend finding out what their fees and policies are on tenant referencing before making any finalised arrangements. It might be worth enquiring if you can conduct your own referencing to keep the costs down.

Since I am an unstable betting man, I won’t hesitate with betting your Nan’s left-bollock on the fact their referencing fees are ripping more new assholes in Landlords than I ever care to imagine.

Don’t worry, it’s a safe bet, your Nan’s bollock will be safe as houses.

One thing is for sure, Online Letting Agents are still a bargain post “Tenant Fees Act 2019”, no matter which way you dice it up.

Complete Guide on Tenant Referencing

Hopefully I shouldn’t need to say this.

But I will anyways.

Because you are my everything.

Using a tenant referencing service, whether it be directly through your agent or a third-party, should only be ONE aspect that contributes to an overall referencing strategy. More details available in my complete guide on referencing tenants.

I hope this has been useful, or at the very least, prepared you for price increases that you’re most likely going to face that you weren’t necessarily aware of. If this hasn’t been helpful…

*throws dick-ointment in your face*

Ungrateful little sod. Take that.

Love & Peace everyone xoxo

Share, Comment & Love!

39 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Mike Wilkins 14th June, 2019 @ 12:01

I am no longer a Landlord as I have sold up my modest portfolio of 2 flats because I am off to Australia but... your blog and emails are still by far the best in class in terms of legislation, rights and wrongs and your humour.
I will be getting into the rental market in Australia but there are some significant differences, mainly because they still favour the Landlord. As a for instance : properties are religiously physically checked every 10 weeks, by the letting agents. They enforce cleanliness
and looking after the property, even down to oil marks on the drive or dirty brickwork. Handing a property back is a full on slog of cleaning, making good and they can insist on professional carpet cleaning etc. In short, letting agents have to earn their considerable income rather than wringing their hands and doing little or nothing , like here in the U.K..
More power to your blog and keep up the good work.

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Teresa 14th June, 2019 @ 12:27

Thank you! great information.

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Nige 14th June, 2019 @ 13:08

Only one rental property left and that is fully managed. That will soon be ZERO when the tenants move out.
My agent has upped the commission to 9% fully managed to cater for this so I'm down £7.50 income a month. Not a hard hit but take off tax I will not pay and N.I and the hit is even lower.
OOPS did I say that the government will get less tax than they thought ?
Not to worry the rents will rise to hopefully cover this for the landlord.
I have a feeling that due to Britexit the publicity regarding us leaving/staying , FFS flip a coin !! is masking all the little changes going on.
Ive just had notification from my laandlords association that I will no longer be on their register because of GPDR (unless I spend yet more of my precious days filling in yet another form.

Maybe this might do some good for society in the end . Making them more responsible. No new car/iphonex /cocktails at £8 and designer gear all bought on credit . Friend of mine getting divorced came out with a cash settlement..enough to buy his next house. NOPE He had a payday loan for £50 which stopped him getting mortgage. Maybe tighter credit checks will teach tenants not to wreck a place. (lower deposits will only increase court cases against tenants which most landlords are loathed to do but it just passes the problem on.)

Your advice by the way is invaluable to those in the business.

I am SOOOOOOO glad that I'm retired as my paperwork load has diminished so much that Im putting myself up for an environmental award.

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Paul 14th June, 2019 @ 13:09

Just require prospective tenants to have references before they would be considered

4
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th June, 2019 @ 13:12

@Mike
Amazing, Australia sounds like fun :) I actually know very little about the rental market over there, but it sounds you're less likely to suffer any tenant educed heart-attacks! Best of luck over there.

Thanks for the kind words, appreciate it!

5
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th June, 2019 @ 13:12

@Teresa
No probs at all! Glad it was useful :)

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th June, 2019 @ 13:14

@Nige
ONE LEFT?!? Oh my God, after all these years we've been discussing the evaporation of your portfolio, and I can't believe you're almost there now!!

How do you plan on celebrating after you get rid of the last one?

And, thank you, appreciate it!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th June, 2019 @ 13:16

@Paul,

Sounds like a great way of drastically reducing enquiries. I don't think it's a particularly fair policy either.

I personally wouldn't do it, but each his/her own!

Play on, player!

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Jonathan Sandford 14th June, 2019 @ 13:19

Your comments on tenant referencing in general and third-party referencing services in particular leave a very important information gap, namely rent protection, the benefits of which I have personally experienced.

My high street agent manages my apartment, the annual rent for which is £16,800. When the tenant referencing was done by my agent with Rent4Sure, included was rent protection which would cover the shortfall if the tenants stopped paying rent. When the tenants moved in, they had passed the reference check and for the first 3 months everything was fine. Then the rent was late. My agent chased the tenants but they became non-responsive to phone calls or emails. When the agent went round, they wouldn't answer the door so a notice of entry letter was sent giving them 48 hours notice but when we attended, we found they'd changed the locks. The rent was by this time 2 months late so a claim was made to Rent4Sure who not only paid the outstanding rent (with no excess deduction or waiting period) they also covered all the legal costs involved in taking the wretched tenants to court, gaining a possession order while still paying me the rent I should have been receiving. In the end, I received 7 months' rent before I got possession and was able to re-let the apartment with thankfully, minimal damage but even there we were able to cover it from the initial damage deposit. So for a cost of £114, I was able to secure missed rent payments of £9800 and I didn't have to pay a penny in legal costs to get them evicted. Would never have been protected in this way with just referencing - standalone or otherwise

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Harry 14th June, 2019 @ 13:26

Great blog as usual. Since we can’t charge the tenants. Would it still be legal to ask prospective tenant to supply their own tenant reference if they would like to rent a property

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teracy meachen 14th June, 2019 @ 13:31

i look forward to your emails as they make me laugh! keep up the good work- it's wicked!!!!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th June, 2019 @ 13:31

Hi @Jonathan Sandford,

I don't really understand where the information gap is, or what your point is (sorry, I don't mean that in an aggressive way).

I've used a third-party referencing service and then got RGI by HomeLet. I also made a claim and didn't pay any legal fees. I did have to pay an excess fee, I think that's standard though.

What makes you think you wouldn't have qualified for rent protection if you didn't go through your agent to get a referencing service?

From my experience, I have never had a problem getting RGI coverage. I've never had to go through an agent to get either a referencing service or RGI policy.

I'm pretty confused by your comment. Did I misunderstand something? :S

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teracy meachen 14th June, 2019 @ 13:32

your emails always make me laugh! keep up the good work- it's wicked!!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th June, 2019 @ 13:37

@Harry
Thanks, appreciate it.

I think that's what Paul alluded to in his comment (#4). I presume he's made it a requirement. I'm not sure if that breaches the Tenant Fee Act. It sounds like it could (at least, it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't legit, because you're indirectly forcing tenants to buy their own references), but I'm not sure.

In my opinion, I think it's fine to ask tenants to bring their own references if they have it. But once you make it a mandatory policy (to bring your own references), I think you'll narrow your market significantly. I personally don't think it's worth putting up a barrier like that.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th June, 2019 @ 13:38

@teracy
Awesome, thank you :)

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Michelle 14th June, 2019 @ 13:46

Love reading your blogs! 3 rental properties with no plans for more. We use Openrent standalone if we need a reference as you mentioned it quite some time back and they’re on the ball. Looking forward to your next articles as they always make me laugh as well as having a serious side to them. Cheers.

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Nige 14th June, 2019 @ 14:09

@ Landlord
You have brightened my day so many times !!
Celebrate ? Yep I have now got time to work on my property which has been neglected by constant repairs to rentals. It is beginning to look like one of my worst rentals (from the past)
We are still in dispute with the local council regarding their deposit bond on one of my daughters properties. Despite her SIGNING 2 contracts..one with us and one with the council the council did not communicate with each department and paid out the benefit direct to the tenant (contrary to both tenancy agreements) Guess who rehoused the little darling . Hey Ho

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Gennie 14th June, 2019 @ 14:37

Dear Mr Landlord, thank you for the information. With 30 properties under my belt (my Dad built as a young man, now in his 80's) I still find every day a learning curve! I manage everything by myself but have just found ThePropertyPA.com. Thank the Lord. She helps with as little (writing a letter on my behalf) or as much (Full management) as I need. I often refer to your posts when discussing up coming jobs and always find helpful advice. This latest one has given me much food for thought. I would never have gone into the depth you have regarding the referencing, so thank you. I'm re-reading this post in a minute and making notes!

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teracy meachen 14th June, 2019 @ 14:48

dear Gennie,
i cannot find your recommendation thepropertypa.com

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Gennie 14th June, 2019 @ 14:54

www.thepropertypa.com
I hope this helps

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Kate 14th June, 2019 @ 20:38

Great blog post. I think I will be more comfortable picking my level of referencing - so not unhappy to pay for it.

I currently use a high street BIG brand name who are totally useless, so I might as well be doing it myself - I end up having to connect their various departments together and astonishingly explain simple legal aspects to them etc.

How they can charge for a service and give such an amount of incorrect information (like using a section 21 for a company tenancy - NO you don't, like not understanding the legal standing of a contract when each party have signed a different version, like giving a yearly report saying there are no issues and providing a picture showing a clear contravention of one of their TA clauses, like trying to bully me into taking a tenant "their references are fine" when a simple call to the previous landlord showed he was in dispute with them and the woman had an outstanding CCJ - WHAT?)

I have a company tenancy right now and when that tenant leaves I will kick these useless objects to the kerb -- and then I can make use of all this information. In other words if you think paying a lot of money gets you a great service - you may be deluding yourself..

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 15th June, 2019 @ 08:05

@Michelle
Thanks, Michelle :)

3 is a great number, and just the right amount to remain just about sane! So I don't blame you for not wanting to expand, it's all about balance.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 15th June, 2019 @ 08:06

@Nige
There I was thinking you'd jump on a yacht and sail off into the sunset! But instead, you plan on celebrating by putting on your tool-belt and picking up a hammer! *slaps forehead*

Disputing with the council... that sounds like fun!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 15th June, 2019 @ 08:17

@Gennie
Holy moly! You're an absolute tycoon, killing it! 30 properties, amazing.

It's also great to hear that I'm still able to be of use to someone in your position.

Glad you managed to find a faithful sidekick to assist, it's always invaluable when you find sharp tools that make life easier.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 15th June, 2019 @ 08:28

@Kate
Thank you :) And I'm the same - I always prefer taking control of referencing, and I always recommend other landlords to do the same when possible.

"I currently use a high street BIG brand name who are totally useless, so I might as well be doing it myself" - that is such an unbelievably common scenario! I had the same issue with my first letting agent, and it only made me wiser and better as a landlord.

hah @ "useless objects"

The sooner you get unshackled the better by the sounds of it. Best of luck!

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Martin 15th June, 2019 @ 09:07

Hi, I really your enjoy your blog my sense of humour lol, just a question can a letting agent charge £100 to do an inventory check when the tenancy has finished and they are moving out of a furnished property. Thanks.

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Nige 15th June, 2019 @ 09:34

@Landlord
I cannot see myself sitting on one of these cruise ships being 'force fed' the entertainment schedule they have planned for me !!
You know how tenants are. Something goes wrong and you have the next 25 minutes to get it sorted or some charity legal team will jump on you. I still repair my one property. Agent phones and says bathroom sink is dripping underneath. Choice. Have half a months state pension vanish or have a look.
Its only a mile away and tenants are foreign, pay rent on the dot and the house is better than when first rented.
Get there and they have removed the waste pipe from under the sink !! You couldn't make it up !!!Easy fix so everyone is happy.

Oh I am determined to catch up on neglected jobs then off to spend my ill gotten gains. 2 overseas holiday planned and I am buggered if I am going to leave enough money to py inheritance tax !! Just looking for 2 young blondes to help me spend it !

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Paul 15th June, 2019 @ 10:04

Hi
I have not made it a requirement yet.
But it would show a landlord that they were serious and cut out the chancers and time wasters, after all I would not interview a job candidate without references

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Ken 15th June, 2019 @ 16:34

Thanks for the info. I enjoy reading the blogs just for the fun of it. They definitely appeal to my warped sense of humour. Maybe you should do a book of them, they remind me of the Terry Wogan “Janet and John” tales.
Keep it up
Ken

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Stealth Bomber 16th June, 2019 @ 14:19

It’s over and out for me, seen enough. One tenant left, then I shall be FREE, FREE I TELL THEE!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 17th June, 2019 @ 12:18

@Martin
Thanks, appreciate it :)

I'm not entirely sure I understand your question, but if you're asking if an agent can charge a tenant a check-out fee (which includes cross-referencing the inventory to check for any damages)...

I believe the answer is yes (assuming the following is true).

According to the Gov guide on tenant fees:

If a tenancy agreement was entered before 1 June 2019, you (agents/landlords) can continue to require a tenant to pay fees written into that agreement (e.g. check-out or renewal
fees) until 31 May 2020.

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The Landlord 17th June, 2019 @ 12:19

@Nige
I'll happily dress up as a blonde and help you spend. No probs, I've got your back.

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The Landlord 17th June, 2019 @ 12:30

@Ken
Cheers Ken, appreciate it. Although, putting a book together probably requires more patience than I could ever dream of having. Plus, publishing a book is like throwing a party - it's potentially social suicide - what if no one turns up, other than my mum and aunt? I could never live it down. I'll probably end up as a recluse alcoholic.

Yeah, I should do it. You're right.

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The Landlord 17th June, 2019 @ 12:32

@Stealth Bomber
Say it ain't so!!!

Another one bites the dust!!!

I hope you inherit a couple of HMOs from a long lost aunt or something - dragging you back into the game, kicking and screaming :)

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Nige 17th June, 2019 @ 19:09

I did say 2 blondes . Now who will be the other one ? BORIS ?

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Tanya 9th July, 2019 @ 15:27

So useful thank you. You may have just save dme a few hundred quid.

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LordOfTheLand 28th August, 2019 @ 08:36

The best way to avoid unnecessary referencing costs is for landlords to do preliminary referencing themselves before allowing a prospective tenant to put down a holding deposit.

Before a viewing, ask for full name, phone number and current address of all the people that are going to live there. You will then have the information for credit checks.

If they want to rent your property, ask for 6 months' pay slips and 3 months' bank statements showing their wages entering their accounts. Check the address on the pay slips and bank statements are the same as the address they gave you before the viewing. Email their HR and ask them to confirm that the tenant works for the company and they are receiving the salary they claim they are receiving. Copy the tenant into the email, phone them up and ask them to send an email to HR giving them permission to give you a reference.

Check their current landlord owns the property they are living in by doing a land registry search.

Above all get them to send you a photo ID like a passport and check their visa status. Look out for work permits that expire before the end of the period you would like them to rent for.

Only let them place a holding deposit if they pass these tests. Then you can use a referencing agent to do credit checks etc.

The new legislation was designed to benefit estate agents, not tenants. Landlords will now do preliminary referencing themselves before taking the risk of paying for referencing.

Despite the general feeling in tenant culture that it is acceptable to sublet out rooms or cupboards behind a landlord's back, it is illegal to sublet or take in lodgers without the landlord's permission (requests should be considered and not rejected without good reason). It is not right that landlords should shoulder all this risk so that unscrupulous employers, often large corporations, can exploit cheap migrant labour. If a tenant illegally sublets then disappears off the face of the earth, the landlord will then be faced with evicting a squatter with tenants' rights. Always do preliminary referencing before allowing tenants to even place a holding deposit. There are people out there who believe landlords deserve to be robbed.

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Nige 28th August, 2019 @ 11:07

Good advice but you may come up against GDPR regulations where employers will not give out data that you are asking for.
I have a prime example with a house I used to manage and I have been in dispute with the council for a year now. I'm not sure what sort of people they employ but in the main they do not have a clue to points that a smart lawyer would pick up in seconds.
In fact this council have actually written to the ombudsman saying that as a result of my ONE comlaint they are re writing their entire scheme!! (Admission of fault !!!!!) OK but that does not mean that the existing contract becomes null and void !!! i.e. tenancy agreement says that housing benefit MUST be paid directly to the landlord. Agreed by cuncil. So what do they do ? Pay housing benefit to tenant directly to tenant who buggers off with the money to put it down as a deposit with some unsuspecting landlord.
Its a minefield these days and guess who the regulations protect. Certainly not the landlord.

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The Landlord 29th August, 2019 @ 08:19

@LordOfTheLand
I agree, preliminary referencing is essential, and I don't recommend referencing every applicant, only the few that get whittled down into a short-list. I do touch on that point in this blog post, but I also cover it in more detail (along with your other points) in my referencing guide (which I link to).

Good points!

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