Understanding Tenant Checks by Letting Agents

understanding tenant checks

In the realm of property management, there’s an essential aspect that both landlords and tenants encounter: tenant checks carried out by letting agents. These checks play a vital role in ensuring a harmonious rental experience for both parties involved. At LevelUP, we understand these checks’ significance and aim to clarify what letting agents look for and why. 

  • What Is a Tenant Check?
  • What Do Letting Agents Check?
  • Why Are Tenant Checks Important?
  • Tenant Checks FAQs

What is a Tenant Check?

A tenant check, also known as tenant screening or referencing, is a process carried out by letting agents or landlords to evaluate the suitability of prospective tenants for a rental property. This process involves examining various aspects of a tenant’s background, financial history, and behaviour to ensure a smooth and secure rental experience for both parties.

What Do Letting Agents Check?

When you’re a prospective tenant seeking to rent a property, letting agents perform various checks to assess your suitability. These checks help landlords make informed decisions while ensuring that your living experience is smooth and secure. Here’s what letting agents typically look into:

Defaults and Credit History: 

A credit check is often a fundamental step in tenant screening. This process involves evaluating your credit report to assess your financial reliability. While letting agents can see whether you have any defaults or outstanding debts, they don’t have access to intricate details of your financial transactions or account balances. Your credit score provides an overview of your creditworthiness, enabling landlords to gauge your ability to manage financial responsibilities.

Criminal Records: 

Safety is paramount for both landlords and tenants. Letting agents may perform a criminal record check to ensure that prospective tenants do not pose any potential threats to the property or its occupants. This helps create a secure living environment for everyone involved.

Employment Verification: 

Letting agents often reach out to your employer to verify your employment status, income, and job stability. This verification serves two purposes: firstly, it assures landlords that you have a steady income to cover rent payments, and secondly, it helps them understand your financial capacity to meet other obligations.

Tenant References: 

References from previous landlords or property management companies provide invaluable insights into your rental history and behaviour as a tenant. Letting agents may contact your previous landlords to gather information about your punctuality in rent payments, the condition of the property when you left, and your overall conduct as a tenant.

Rental History: 

Your rental history offers a snapshot of your past tenancies. Letting agents examine how you managed your previous rentals, including factors such as adherence to lease agreements, timely rent payments, and overall communication with property managers.


To ensure that you can comfortably afford the rent, letting agents may evaluate your income against the rental amount. This assessment ensures that the property is within your financial reach, preventing potential financial strain during your tenancy.

Right to Rent: 

In the UK, letting agents are legally required to verify your right to rent by checking your immigration status. This is essential to ensure that all tenants have the legal authority to reside in the country.

Bank Details and Overdrafts: 

Letting agents generally don’t have access to specific bank account details or overdraft information during their checks. Their focus is primarily on assessing your financial stability and capacity to fulfil your rental obligations.

Why Are Tenant Checks Important?

Tenant checks serve as a safeguarding mechanism for both landlords and tenants. By conducting these checks, letting agents and landlords can achieve several important goals:

  • Risk Mitigation: Tenant checks help mitigate the risk of potential issues, such as non-payment of rent, property damage, or breach of lease agreements.
  • Safety and Security: Criminal record checks ensure that the property remains a safe environment for all occupants, promoting a sense of security and well-being.
  • Financial Responsibility: Evaluating your financial history and employment status allows landlords to select tenants who are financially responsible and capable of meeting their rental obligations.
  • Property Preservation: Thorough tenant checks contribute to maintaining the condition of the property by ensuring that tenants are respectful and responsible.

Tenant Checks FAQs

As part of our commitment to transparency and providing you with the information you need, we’re here to shed light on the key aspects of tenant checks. Whether you’re a prospective tenant or a landlord, these frequently asked questions will help you better understand the process and its significance in the rental journey.

Can lettings agents see defaults?

Yes, letting agents do have the ability to see certain defaults on your credit report as part of the tenant screening process. Defaults are typically considered negative marks on your credit history and can include missed payments on loans, credit cards, or other forms of credit. These defaults can impact your credit score and reflect your creditworthiness.

Do lettings agents contact your employer?

Yes, it’s true that letting agents may contact your employer as part of the tenant screening process. Employment verification serves as a crucial step in assessing your suitability as a tenant. However, it’s important to note that this verification is typically carried out with your consent and adheres to privacy and data protection regulations.

Can a letting agent see my overdraft?

Rest assured that letting agents generally do not have access to specific details of your overdraft account as part of the tenant screening process. Tenant checks typically focus on your credit history, rental payment history, employment verification, and references. The specific financial details of your bank accounts, including overdrafts, are usually not part of the information that letting agents review.

Do lettings agents check criminal records?

Yes, letting agents may conduct criminal record checks as part of the tenant screening process. The purpose of these checks is to ensure the safety and security of the property and its occupants. Landlords are responsible for providing a safe living environment, and conducting criminal record checks helps fulfil this obligation.

Empowering Your Rental Journey

At LevelUP, we believe in transparency, fairness, and empowering our clients with knowledge. Whether you’re a prospective tenant seeking the perfect rental property or a landlord looking to make informed decisions, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

If you have further questions or are ready to embark on your rental journey, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our dedicated team is here to assist you, providing expert guidance and support.

understanding tenant checks