Date Published 10 April 2018

Q: I am looking to rent my first property and need to know what can I expect to be asked on the application form once I have found a property to let?

A: You will find that all letting agents will have an application process which you will need to follow once you have found a suitable property to rent through them. This will either be a hard copy form or maybe via an on line application and will include though is not inclusive the following; Your name, current address, contact details to include email address (try to provide a private email address and not your work email address as your employer would have access to you work email, even though they may be considered private) and your date of birth. With this information assuming the agent using a third party credit reference company then they will be able to confirm your entry on the electoral roll, see what credit data is recorded for you which gives a credit score and establish if you have any county court judgements or bankruptcy orders against you. If you do have detrimental information / poor credit score then this may affect your ability to rent.

The Landlord via their agent will also want to know if you have rented before and if so they would typically require a Landlords reference. Usually your current Landlord is contacted, though there is no reason not to go back to previous Landlords. These references involve responses to a number of questions which typically cover length of tenancy, current rental figure, whether rent has been paid late, is there any rent arrears, has the property been looked after and would the Landlord let to you again.

The Landlord will also need to know whether or not you are working and what level of salary you are on so that they can establish your ability to afford the rent. Usually a multiplier is used and references maybe taken from your current employer or accountant if you are self-employed.
Other questions which you may be asked include whether you smoke or not, or have pets, or children with ages. Precious addresses may also be taken if you have moved within the last 3 years.

With all this information to hand, a decision can be made on your suitability to take the tenancy. Usually most applicants will pass the application process, however there are times when applicants who fall slightly short of the minimum requirements may still be offered a tenancy subject to providing a guarantor. A guarantor is typically a family member and guarantees payment of rent or other liabilities that the Landlord may have to pay if the tenant failed to pay. Should the application process reveal that your past is catching up on you as they say, resulting in a polite decline, then you may struggle in finding a Landlord prepared to take you on.