As a property letting agent, the last thing you want is to dump an unreliable and untrustworthy tenant on your client. Not only could the client fire you, but your reputation could sink, and you might be liable to insurance claims.
Tenant reference checks are crucial when renting property, and although they don’t guarantee that no problems will occur, they are a good shield against them.
The trouble is that reference checking takes time, with communication gaps and referee quality being the biggest problems.
AutoRefs automates the process, saving you time, money and headaches. This article will explore why you should use it within your agency.
Why is tenant reference checking crucial?
The reason reference checks are crucial is because they indicate if a tenant is reliable and able to keep up with rent payments.
As a landlord, this comes down to assuring income from an investment. As a letting agent, it comes down to assuring client satisfaction.
The way we see it, tenant reference checks are a part of due diligence – when you let out property, you need to know who is renting!
While most tenants are reliable (we speak from professional experience), some cause problems. By now, most of us have seen the TV show ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’.
Horror stories and bad tenant experiences mean that many landlords we speak to are willing to offer properties below market value in a bid to secure reliable renters. This shift in criteria makes reference checking more crucial than ever.
The many problems with tenant reference checking
The time it takes to request, send, receive and read references is often ridiculous.
For example, there are times when it takes several weeks to receive a “no” response to a reference, and many requests get ignored entirely. Factor in communication problems, like emails bouncing back and time zones, and the problem is exasperated.
The biggest time-waster by far is chasing references, which has to be done when a tenant only has one or two references since there is no other way to vet them.
Then you have quality issues.
Some references are full of fluff, some references answer no important questions, and some are biased. However, the most common quality issue is the referee being unverifiable (for example, by leaving out their contact information).
So, let’s sum up the problems letting agents and landlords face with reference checking:
- Communication issues
- Time zone barriers
- False information and fake referees
- Inaccurate referee contact information
- No response
- Low-quality responses
- Biased responses
- Unverifiable referees
- Chasing references
- Complying with the UK GDPR
Ultimately, when a letting agent or landlord submits a reference request (often by email), the chance of it being actioned is 50/50, meaning that 50% of reference requests are a waste of time. Across hundreds of tenants, it’s easy to see how letting agencies are overwhelmed by it all, and individual landlords have it even tougher!
How AutoRefs transforms reference checking
AutoRefs is an automated reference checking tool that collects references for you, cutting out the most time-intensive activities in manual checking (communication, chasing up) and significantly increasing response rates and quality.
Here’s how it works:
- Requester creates reference request
- Applicant receives an AutoRefs email to submit referee details
- Referees receive a safe and secure link to respond within AutoRefs
- Referees complete request and requester receives completed reference
The simplicity of this system is immense: instead of manually requesting referee details, creating questionnaires, emailing referees and hoping they respond, everything is done with a single tool, creating a consistent, reliable cycle.
By replacing your disjointed tenant reference checking process with AutoRefs’ unified platform, reference checking becomes a simple process.
No need to create an account
With AutoRefs, applicants and referees do not register to respond (they simply receive a safe and secure link from which they respond). This significantly increases response rates and reduces privacy complexity.
AutoRefs uses questionnaires for references and gives you a simple questionnaire builder that is infinitely customisable. You can select from a list of pre-defined questions or create a series of custom questions covering anything you like.
With AutoRefs, all you need to do is submit a reference request to the applicant. The applicant then responds, and the referee is notified. The referee then responds by filling in your questionnaire, and you get the results.
AutoRefs will automatically remind you about references, and you can send out reference reminders to applicants and designated referees. If you don’t get a response, you can then contact the referee directly if you need to.
Hosted in the cloud
AutoRefs is a pure SaaS (software-as-a-service) business, so our product is hosted in the cloud, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. We assure service uptime and welcome new development recommendations.
Credits or subscriptions
AutoRefs is scalable with two pricing models: credits that grant access to reference checking on-demand and subscriptions that give you limited requests per month. You can unlock a 20% to 50% discount on credits by choosing a subscription.
Simplified privacy (GDPR compliant)
AutoRefs provides a platform for reference checking, storing all data on our servers, simplifying privacy for you. You can safely use our platform and assure compliance with the UK GDPR without conducting costly internal audits.
Don’t let your clients down!
One of the biggest takeaways we have from letting out property is letting agents play a significant role in vetting tenants. While the final decision is always the landlord’s, landlords need high-quality options to make good decisions.
By using AutoRefs’ automated reference checking platform, you save time, free up resources and assure minimum standards on all reference checks, allowing you to present clients with tenant options you have confidence in.
By screening potential tenants consistently and saving time in the process, you can work harder for your clients. Clients will respect and appreciate the high-quality service you provide, increasing the likelihood of contract renewal.
Give AutoRefs a try. It’s free to get started, and you can book a demo to find out more.