JOHNS&CO Offices
Nine Elms

Reference Checks Your Letting Agency Will Make

Renting has become a very popular choice over buying a house, as it’s quicker, easier and cheaper in the short-run. As a tenant, the rental application is extremely easy and straight-forward, however, you will need to provide your landlord or letting agent with information to prove that you are able to rent the property during the initial stages of your application.

The tenancy screening process simply checks that you are able to rent in the UK, you are able to afford the rental payments and that if you have rented before, your previous landlords can confirm that no significant damage was inflicted on your previous rental property.

This guide explains everything you need to know about your rental application and which documents you will need to provide in order to obtain a property.

terrace houses

Right to Rent

Right to rent checks must be carried out by landlords or letting agencies to ensure that a renter is legally entitled to remain in the country, and therefore able to rent a property. When applying for a rental property, you will be asked to provide your passport or immigration documents, which clarify that you have a right to live and work in the UK.

You must also prove that you and any other adults residing with you have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK, so they will need to provide their documents, too.

If you do not have a passport or immigration documents, your landlord or letting agency will be able to request a ‘right to rent’ check from the UK Home Office, which should usually only take two days to finalise.

Your landlord will need to contact the Landlord Checking Service if you do not have these documents but have been living in the UK since before 1988, but you will need to clarify exactly how many years you have been living in the UK.

UK passport

Personal Identification

To prove that you are who you say you are, you will be required to provide personal identification, in the form of a driver’s licence, passport or another credible form of photo identification.


In order to prove your employment, you will be asked to provide three months’ worth of payslips. This will not only prove that your income covers the minimum threshold for meeting your rental payments, but it will also prove that you do have money coming in and that your income is consistent.

If you’re self-employed, you might need to give copies of your trading accounts and an accountant’s reference.

Bank Statements

Your bank statements will provide information about your monthly finances and prove that you have been living in the UK for a maximum of three months. This will provide your landlord with information on any direct debits you are paying monthly, and proves that you are able to afford the rental payments.

When applying for a rental property, you are likely to need to provide three months worth of bank statements, which will be required by every tenant living in the property.

credit cards

Credit Checks

Your landlord will carry out credit checks on all prospective tenants to check that there are no outstanding debts and that you are unlikely to be experiencing financial difficulties when paying the monthly rental payments.

This will also provide an insight into whether you have experienced problems paying bills in the past, however, your landlord will need your permission first before they access your credit history.

If you do have a bad credit history, it may be easier to explain to your landlord or letting agent and discuss the situation. If your credit check does fail, you should talk to your landlord and see if they would still be able to allow you to rent in the property, however, you may be required to have a guarantor in your contract who will be on hand if you miss any rental payments.

Please note that your landlord is not allowed to charge you a fee for a credit check and this is now free to all renters in the UK.

Previous Tenancy References

Your landlord may also request a reference from your previous landlord to check that you have paid all rental payments on time with your previous tenancy and that the property was found in an acceptable condition during each of your property inspections.

How can JOHNS&CO help you?

At JOHNS&CO we’re a fast-growing, innovative London estate agency with seven offices across the city. We consider it our responsibility to know the London property market inside out, and we’re committed to providing the very best service to everyone we come in contact with. 

From West Hampstead to Wapping, Nine Elms to New Providence Wharf, and everything in between – we have London covered. Our seven London estate agent offices enable us to cover a wide area of London and reach buyers and tenants from across the city.

Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.