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  • Tenant Referencing

    What permission for background/credit checks

    Hi.

    What permission do you need from prospective tenants to run credit and background checks on them.

    Thanks.

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    Every time I've seen this situation it is something along the lines of " We will carry out a credit check prior to offering you a tenancy agreement. Please confirm that you agree to us making these checks. If we are unable to perform these credit searches, we will be unable to offer you a tenancy".

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    To actually complete the checks and gain the background info you require make sure you use a specialist tenant referencing company. With GDPR and all of the rules around data controllers etc - you need to be very aware of the legalities of making these checks, storing the information and ensuring you have the correct permissions.

    It's not worth the potential fine to try and do this yourself. A professional referencing company will have all of the permissions they need spelled out and written down so that the tenants agree to these before any checks commence.

    Better safe than sorry.

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    There are two issues that are at play here.

    1. Getting signed consent to the various checks and references
    2. Making sure that data that is collected and processed is in accordance with GDPR

    For number 1 I have a simple statement on our application form that reads: 

    "I confirm that I am over 18 years of age and the information I have provided is accurate. I agree to ABC Lettings making whatever enquires they deem necessary in connection with this application, including, but not limited to, a credit search being carried out with one or more credit reference agencies. I authorise my employer, my bank / building society, landlord, local authority (if I was previously a council tenant), and any additional referees named, to provide information about me, any prior tenancy history, and any employment / financial affairs as appropriate to ABC Lettings and their enquires. I further confirm I have read and accept ABC Lettings Terms & Conditions for tenancies. (Document attached)"

    ABC Lettings is a placeholder for your business name.

    With regards to number 2. There are two things you need to put in your privacy statement if you haven't already, under the section Lawful Basis of Processing:

    1. Contract – We will process your data to perform the necessary actions to deliver our commitment under the contract we have with you.          
    2. Legal Obligation – We will process your data to comply with our regulatory obligations.

    If you cover these with the declaration above, you have all the necessary permissions as required by law.

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    Landlord with 25 years’ experience in the property market and a specialist in tenant referencing, ID and credit screening. Creator of identity, credit and anti-money laundering system ValidID.co.uk