Referencing: How much of my history should I share?

Referencing checks can be a daunting aspet of the property letting process when you’re unsure whether your credit history will suffice or your previous landlord will cooperate. It can also be hard to decide what to be upfront about and what to keep to yourself. Though these may not be appeasing topics to raise with a new letting agent or landlord, you will find honesty truly is the best policy.

Recently, we helped a tenant with her referencing application & some complications. For the purpose of this blog post, we will refer to the tenant as Jessica. Jessica had a short history of hiccups with utility bills that had led to a demise of her credit history & a CCJ.  While attending our offices Jessica had an upfront and honest chat with us, informing us of the reasons why these may show. This gave Jessica a fair opportunity to explain her situation and for us to recognise that Jessica was a sincere potential tenant.

Fortunately, as Jessica was so honest and upfront, we were able to make an informed decision and help her despite the history of her credit score. Her transparency with such a common issue meant that we could assist in ways that we could not if she had not been honest.

In other similar situations, being upfront will allow your letting agent or landlord to advise you of other options. For example, a larger deposit or needing rent up front, depending on your situation. There are always many alternatives and ways around, you just need to be transparent.

Honesty when going through the referencing stage can apply to those even with a good credit history. For example, a past eviction on your record but a good credit history could be a deal breaker. Think of it this way, if you lay it all out on the table, there are no surprises. Telling the truth throughout a vital stage such as referencing can make all the difference. Letting agents and landlords tend to put a lot of faith into people who are upfront and honest. If you lie to them, it will make them wonder what else it is you could be hiding, thus becoming a trust issue.

More importantly, inaccurate and false information can see you turned away almost immediately. Whilst altering the truth may seem the easiest option when you are wary of your background, this can cause even more damage. Knowingly entering false information on a referencing form may even be fraudulent! 

So, what are our 5 top tips of referencing in a nutshell?

  • Be upfront about all relevant information that could impact your acceptance
  • Let your referees know they will be contacted
  • Have all of the appropriate documentation ready
  • Secure a guarantor (prior to referencing) just in case
  • Make sure you have a good understanding of your finances to avoid further ado