Reference Checks? | The Tenants' Voice
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Reference Checks?

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1362 views 2 replies latest reply: 28 February 2016

Hi, all.

First time posting here because I’ve been itching to ask questions regarding renting with reference checks.

I and my sister are both professional sharers and are young; 20 and 22 respectively, and do not have any plans to move out separately in the next 12-18 months as we both rely on each others income because our parents live abroad atm.

We have never had any tenant reference checks done before and this is the time so we are really worried, as we have paid a £200 holding fee and if our checks fail, then we lose this (is this right?).

We both have been working for the past 3 years continuously but have changed jobs and at the moment, we have both taken up new jobs.

I have just started at a well know Retail Jeweller who stock really expensive items from Patek Phillipe watches to Rolex but this employment is only part time at the moment but permanent.

From this job, I am earning £800 basic + guaranteed overtime but if you add on anymore over time that I do myself and the commission earned, it can well go up over £1000 per month.

Before this, I use to work in another retail jeweller which was contracted so my contract ended and I took up my current employment even though its part time because I didn’t have any income.

Before this, I worked for Audi as a sales executive but resigned because of personal issues because I become a full-time carer which I am not anymore.

Yearly I earn £9,600 but if you add commission and any more overtime taken then it can go well up to £13,000 or more but the estate agent will only take into account the £9,600 which is understandable.

My sister has just started a job at Vision Express as an optical assistant which is full-time and permanent, but also is working at her previous job from full time down to a part-time basis as an evening host.

From her full-time employment, she earns £15,000 a year basic and with overtime and commission it can go well up.

From her part-time employment, she earns £4,800 a year but the agent is not taking this into account at the moment, and also both employments are permanent. 

The property we are looking to rent is a 2 bedroom flat newly refurbished, on an unfurnished basis for £795 a month.

The agents affordability calculator tells us that the affordability criteria for this rent are an income of £23,850 a year.

Our combined income is £24,600 with my job and my sister’s full-time job only combined.

If you combine incomes from all the jobs then our combined income is £29,400, we come from a traditional family and so don’t have any values such as rent paid at 50/50 as we understand each other’s position and situation.

My credit file is vast, I have various credit card’s and one personal loan all which I pay back exactly on time as they are all direct debit, do not have any adverse information such as country court judgement or defaults, only my score is low as I am young and starting off.

My sister’s credit file is fairly new as she has one credit card and an OD both which she uses responsibly and pays back on time all the time. 

The estate agents said that from the information given by us, there isn’t any reason as to why the reference checks should fail anyway but as this is the first time this happening, I am as worried as one can be.

From the information given, what can be the reason to decline and if decline, can i get some if not all of the holding fee back?

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Hi Ash

It doesn’t sound like there will be a problem with your credit scores – having debt and repaying it on time is part of having a good credit score.

Have you paid a holding fee or a holding deposit? If it’s a holding deposit (which it should be as £200 would be enormously high as a fee for a £700 a month property) then it should be deducted from your first month’s rent.

In terms of the credit checks, even if you fail them if you may be able to provide other documents and information to persuade the agents to let you rent the flat. For example, you could arrange a guarantor – it would have to be someone living in this country or with assets here. You could also pay some rent up front if you can afford to do that. Perhaps wait and see what they say and then offer a few alternative solutions if there’s an issue. You can speak to someone at Shelter if you want more help – they are very experienced.



Hi Alex,

My estate agent has gotten back to me and have said that we have passed all the credit checks but failed in affordability checks because my manager decided to only confirm my basic income which is £7,400 and not my ‘guaranteed over time’ (which takes my income to £9,600) because he cannot confirm whether i would even do them -.- (Same could be said for contracted hours as i could fall ill and not attend).

The estate agent only decided to take into my sisters full time employment which is £15K a year so with the information they have at the moment, our income comes up to £22,400 a year which is less than the £23,850 required to pass affordability. 

We insisted on them to add into my sisters second income which is part time and £4800 a year, they agreed but said that they require 6 months bank statements, now this is a problem because my sister’s part time employment use to be cash in hand with a self assessment tax form completed at the due time, but only 4 months ago her company decided to use the PAYE system (Its a small restaurant).


I don’t want to tell the estate agent what i’ve mentioned above as i have a feeling they can use that to pull out and instead take another £200 from someone else, if i only provided them with 4 months bank statements, what reason would they have to reject it?






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