Can we run a credit check on our tenants?

Dear James,

We have just evicted tenants for non-payment of rent and have discovered that they have a string of debts, dating back from before they moved into our property, as well as a large number of debts incurred during their time at our property. We are not convinced that the referencing checking company did a thorough job prior to us agreeing this lease and would like to see what they would have found out about these tenants had they done a proper job. Is there any way we can access this information. We would also like to credit check potential tenants ourselves, in future. Can we do this through your company? Many thanks.

Helen, Portsmouth

Dear Helen,

Sorry you’ve had problems with recent tenants. Landlords and letting agents can run financial background checks on prospective tenants, but only with their permission. These checks do not include a tenant’s credit agreements – this data is only available to lenders – but they will certainly cover public record entries such as court judgments and insolvencies. We do provide these services and you can find out more information by visiting Experian’s tenant referencing website. You won’t be able to run a check on the tenants you’ve just evicted, though, as you won’t be able to get their agreement.  But if you’re worrying about any adverse information they’ve left behind, there’s no need. A credit check on you will these days only include personal financial records in your name along with the name of anyone you’re financially linked to. Previous occupants simply don’t feature so this is not something you should be concerned about. (March 2012)

James
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