DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

Care Check is a leading umbrella body for the Disclosure and Barring Service and has been named one of the top 8 providers for criminal record checks in the UK.

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What Background Checks Can Landlords Carry Out?

Whether you have just bought your first buy-to-let property to top up your income, or you have a portfolio of housing assets that are delivering money into your pension pot; the reliability and consistency of rental fees from your tenants are paramount to ensuring that you can make your mortgage payments.

Making sure that your tenants are reliable, reasonable people who are capable of paying ontime month to month is important, and while you can’t mitigate all risks all of the time by using a series of background checks, you will be able to minimise the risk of being left unpaid and protect the value of your property.

Some elements of the background checks are legal requirements, and these need to be carried out to ensure that you are compliant with the law; but there are also some additional background checks that you can choose to carry out to improve the vetting of your prospective tenant.

What Background Checks Are Landlords Legally Obligated To Carry Out?

A DBS check is a background check that is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The purpose of a DBS

As a landlord you are required to keep a record of certain things, and these are entitled ‘right to rent’ checks. 

The government has given guidance on what a ‘Right to Rent’ check should include which can be found here
The ‘Right to Rent’ check should be carried out to check that a lodger has the legal right to rent a residential property in England, and this should be carried out on everybody aged over the age of 18, regardless of whether they are mentioned on the rental agreement or not. If the tenant does not have the legal right to rent, then you should refuse their tenancy and refer them to the local council and the home office.

It should be noted that as the landlord, you are not permitted to discriminate against your prospective tenant based on their race or nationality; and you are obligated to check all prospective tenants. It should also be noted that failure to carry out adequate ‘Right to Rent’ checks can result in an unlimited fine and upto 5 years imprisonment. 

DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

What Additional Background Checks Should A Landlord Carry Out?

If you only carry out the minimum, legally required checks, you could be opening yourself up to unnecessary risk. Your background checks should extend further beyond this to protect your assets (property).

Credit Checks 

If you want to ensure that your prospective tenant has a history of paying their rent and other bills, you should consider carrying out a credit check. You can engage a consumer credit reference agency to carry out a credit search, with your tenants consent, which will examine a person’s credit history. This will indicate whether you’ve paid your mobile phone bill, utilities etc on time and look at how much credit risk / burden the tenant is currently handling.

Reference & Guarantor Checks

Whether you are starting from scratch or updating an existing one, it’s important to make sure your resume is as strong as possible. Here are some tips to help you create a best-in-class resume. First, be sure to tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for. Highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to the position. Second, make sure your formatting is

For younger tenants, you may feel that they’ve not been exposed to enough credit to get a full picture of their ability to consistently pay rent on time; and where this is the case, you may wish to get a combination of references and a guarantor.

References (or referees), similarly to those that you might add on your CV, are people who can vouch for your tenants character. Previous landlords, their employer, or other professionals can help you to validate your tenant.

Additionally, if you want a stronger guarantee that your tenant will be able to pay his rent, you can ask for a guarantor to be added to the rental agreement. This is normally applied to tenants who are financially unstable, students with limited income, or those who have very poor credit histories. A guarantor is someone who will take responsibility for paying the rental arrears in the event that your tenant fails to do so, this is typically a close friend or a family member; and you should endeavour to ensure that the guarantor is a homeowner (or has a proven capability to pay.

Criminal Record Checks

Landlords are not legally required to carry out criminal record checks on prospective new tenants, however, failure to declare any unspent convictions to your insurance provider, could invalidate your home and landlord insurance; so carrying out a Basic DBS Check is an incredibly important part of protecting your property asset.

To get a criminal record check for your property business, check out our pricing, familiarise yourself with our FAQs and get in touch.

Don’t Forget To Be A Great Landlord

If you have a criminal record, you may be wondering if you are required to disclose it to potential employers. The answer to There is always a great deal of focus by landlords on making sure that tenants are thoroughly checked, vetted and qualified. And while this is incredibly important in protecting your property; what is of equal importance is making sure that you are a good landlord too.

First impressions are everything, so make sure that the tenancy agreement is professional but personalised, the property is clean and that you remain approachable and consistent across the course of the tenancy. 

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