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Referencing Criteria and Documents required

We are frequently asked the referencing criteria to be able to rent one of our properties – this guide will provide an overview. This is not a comprehensive guide, but should be used as an indication.

All of our landlords take out an insurance product, which protects them against any non-payments of rent. The insurers criteria for passing the referencing changes frequently, so please contact us with specific queries.


Tenants must have a form of income from any of the sources listed below (or a combination of the sources) that equals at least 1 x the yearly rent (eg – if the property you wish to rent is £800pcm you need to have a source of income of at least £800 x 12 = £9600.00)

Acceptable income sources:

Earned income from an employer (PAYE)

Self employed income – which must be verified via an accountant, bank statements or self assessment tax forms - see section below

Disability Benefits


Savings (must be in an accessible account, and must have not been touched for at least 6 months)

Other forms of income such as maintenance payments, student loans, bursaries, commission, income from property etc are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If the income as listed above is between 1 x the yearly rent and 2.5 x the yearly rent a guarantor must also be provided.

Government Benefits

Any government benefits can be used to contribute towards your total income and affordable rent calculations.

We can verify income based on any benefit payments already received. If you are due to receive a new benefit payment, we will need to review their benefit award letter to verify this.

To verify income from government benefits you must provide either:

  • Your benefit award notice for the current year for each of their benefits; or
  • Access to financial records for your personal bank account shared using Open Banking showing their benefit payments; or
  • Itemised bank statements for your personal bank account spanning the last six months. The bank statements will need to show the incoming transactions for their benefit payments, and must be provided in a non-editable format, such as a photo or PDF file.

Credit rating

One declared CCJ under £300.00 – may be acceptable dependant on the rest of the referencing

2 CCJ’s totalling less than £5000.00 – may be acceptable with a guarantor dependant on the rest of the referencing.

3 or more CCJ’s – Decline

Non-Declared CCJ – Decline (so if you think you may have a CCJ please tick ‘yes’ during the application process to this question)

Declared Bankrupt or Declared IVA – may be acceptable with guarantor dependant on the rest of the referencing

Non-Declared Bankrupt or Non Declared IVA – Decline.

If you are unsure of your credit rating you can go online and use one of the companies who will do a search for you.


A Guarantor is always required if the applicants income is less than 2.5 x the yearly rent. The Guarantor must earn (from any of the incomes previously listed) at least 3 x the yearly rent (applicants are permitted to have more than one guarantor)

Guarantors must have NO adverse credit. See a more detailed article about guarantors here: https://www.gpslettings.co.uk/blog/38-what-guarantors-need-to-know

Previous Landlord Reference

Tenants must receive a suitable previous landlord reference (if you have rented previously). The reference must confirm you have always paid your rent in full and on time and that there is no reason for us not to consider renting a property to you.

Self Employed

If you have been self employed for less than 2 months we are really sorry, but you will not pass the referencing. Your only option may be to offer to pay the full rent (12 months) up front

If you have been self employed for between 2 months and one year, you may pass the referencing (subject to all the other affordability and credit history criteria), but you will require a guarantor. You will be asked for:

– a reference from a chartered accountant confirming income earned; or
– 6 months personal bank statements / Open Banking consent to personal bank account

If you have been self employed for more than 12 months you will be asked for:

– a reference from a chartered accountant confirming income earned for the last 12 months; or
– SA302 tax calculation for the most recent financial year; or 
– SA100 tax return for the most recent financial year with HMRC submission receipt.

If the tax calculation/return is NOT dated within the last 12 months, you must also provide the following in addition:
– six months personal bank statements or using Open Banking to share personal bank account; OR
– three months bank statements for business bank account or using Open Banking to share business bank account

Accountant Referee Eligibility Criteria

Proof of Address – ALL Tenants and Guarantors must provide this

For your proof of address, the only documents we can accept are as follows (only one needs to be provided)

Photocard driving licence

Gas, Electric or Water bill (MUST be dated within the last 3 months)

Bank Statement (MUST be dated within the last 3 months)

Letter from your employer on headed paper, signed and dated, giving your name, job title and address. (offer of employment or pay slips not accepted)

TV Licence,( dated within the last 3 months)

Current mortgage statement (dated within the last 3 months.)

Sorry, but please do not ask us if we can accept any alternative documents, we cannot take a view on the documents we accept. ONLY the above documents will be accepted

Proof of right to rent - all Tenants must provide this.

If you have a European Passport we are able to accept this.

If you do not have this document, please refer to the government web site, and submit to us documents within this list:



All tenants will be required to pay a deposit of between 4 and 5 weeks rent, plus one months rent up front on move in day. If a tenant has a pet then the rent will be increased by £20.00pcm (not all landlords will accept  a pet) On some occasions we may be able to accept a deposit replacement insurance - the insurance cost is a sum equivalent to 42% of one months rent. More details can be provided upon request. Due to insurance requirements, the deposit replacement insurance can only be taken out with the insurer we use. We cannot accept any type of bond for the deposit.

Signing Contracts and Producing ID

All tenants and guarantors must be available to come into or office in person to produce their ID and sign the relevant agreements or Deeds.


Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST’s)

When entering into a tenancy agreement it is vitally important that the seriousness and implications of the document you are signing are fully understood.

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST for short), is a legally binding contract between tenants and landlords. The commitment is that the landlord will rent a property to a tenant for a set period of time, which is detailed in the agreement and is typically 6 or 12 months, and that neither party can end this contract until its expiry (end date). The amount of rent and deposit that is to be paid will be written into the AST, along with various obligations that both the landlord and tenant need to fulfil.

Before the contract is due to expire both landlord and tenant would need to decide if they wish for the tenancy to continue, which must be mutually agreed, or if the tenancy is to end.

How to end an AST when it is naturally due to expire

If a tenant wishes to end the tenancy, then he should provide the landlord as much notice as possible of this, ideally 2 months’ notice and certainly not less than one months’ notice. If a tenant serves notice then the property will be placed back onto the market, and the tenant will be asked for mutually convenient dates for access to carry out viewings. Clause 6.3 of our agreement states:

Within the last two months of the tenancy to permit the Landlord or any person authorised by the Landlord or the Landlord's Agent at reasonable hours in daytime to enter and view the Property with prospective tenants or purchasers, having first given the Tenant a reasonable period of notice.

If a landlord does not wish to continue with the tenancy, then notice must be served to the tenant in a prescribed format, called a Section 21 Notice form 6a. More information on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/section-21-and-section-8-notices

How to end an AST mid contract

The real difficulties arise if a tenant finds themselves in a situation where they no longer wish to honour the terms of the AST they have signed, and want to end the contract early.

As the AST is a legally binding document, the only way this can be achieved is by agreement with your landlord. Most landlords do agree to an early termination providing they are not financially affected by this breach of contract.

If your landlord agrees, then this means that providing the tenant pays the rent up until the date a new tenant moves in and all of the landlords out of pocket costs and charges, then an early termination can take place. A tenant will never need to pay the landlord more than the amount of rent that would be legally due if the contract was not being breached. Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 there are very few costs or charges that a tenant is liable for, but this charge is a legally permitted one. See page 71:


How to calculate a landlord’s costs and charges

The Tenant Fees Act stipulates that the landlord can charge you the rent until the day a new tenant moves in PLUS his costs and charges

The rent is fairly straightforward, a tenant must pay the full rent up until the day a new tenant moves in, if the new tenant moves in mid-way through your normal rental period, then any over payment of rent you have made will be refunded to you. EG if your rent payment day is the 1st day of each month, and on the 1st of June you paid one month’s rent, but a new tenant moved into the property on the 26th June, you will be refunded rent for the 26th June to 30th June.

The costs and charges are less straightforward. The out-of-pocket fees a landlord will need to pay are all the fees due in order to market the property and move a new tenant in. The fees the landlord pays are listed here:


Broken down these are:

Tenant find fee: 3 weeks rent plus VAT

Check out Fee: £100.00 Plus VAT

Inventory Fee: £125.00 - £160.00 Plus VAT (depending on property size)

So as an example: If the monthly rent is £1000.00 per calendar month and the property is a 2 bedroom flat, the costs and charges that the tenant would be liable for are:

Tenant find fee: £1000.00 x 12 months divided by 52 to calculate weekly rent x 3 = £692.31 plus vat = £830.77 incl VAT

Plus check out fee of £120.00 including VAT

Plus inventory fee of £150.00 including VAT

TOTAL Fee tenant liable for = £1100.77 including VAT

As you can see the costs and charges are fairly hefty, so its imperative that tenants do not take on a tenancy unless they are absolutely sure that they can meet the contractual terms of that agreement.


If you find yourself in a situation where you can no longer honour the terms of your tenancy, please speak to your agent or landlord immediately, as usually the faster the property is re let, the less your financial exposure will ultimately be.

** A tenant will never be liable to pay to the landlord more in charges than they would have naturally paid in rent, had the tenancy not been breached.



LANDLORDS – This part is relevant to you

We offer 3 different service levels to our clients. The services differ in the amount of involvement we or the landlord will have with the property and therefore the tenant. For a full break down of the costs of each service and a more detailed explanation on what we do for each service then please refer to our ‘Terms of Business’. This chapter is intended to give a brief over view.

The landlord chooses the service, and his decision is based on various factors including:

His knowledge surrounding residential lettings legislation

The amount of available time he has to look after his tenant and his rental property

The connections he has with local contractors who will be available to attend to emergency situations that can arise at his rental property.

The distance the landlord lives to his rental property

How comfortable the landlord feels he will be to chase late payments of rent

How comfortable and knowledgeable the landlord is if any legal proceedings or court proceedings had to be initiated.


If the landlord chooses our fully managed service, then we will deal with the day to day running of the rental property and all contact with the tenant. We collect and process rental payments. We arrange contractors to remedy and/ or quote for day-to-day property maintenance and we will keep the landlord updated with all legislation changes that affect his property. All repairs to the property are paid for by the landlord, usually out of the next month’s rent. Full Management is our most popular service.


The main difference with this service and our fully managed service is that we are not instructed by the landlord to deal with any day-to-day property maintenance at the property. Landlords who choose this service will usually do this as they have strong connections with an assortment of local contractors, so can easily access someone to help with repairs and breakdowns should the need arise, but they do not wish to become involved with chasing rental payments or constantly reading up on residential lettings legislation. We collect all rental payments, diaries and monitor all safety certificates and ensure our landlord is up to date with legislation and remains legally compliant.


Landlords who choose this service are usually landlords who have a keen interest in residential lettings. These landlords will usually be members of one of the landlord bodies/ associations and will attend seminars and training schemes to make sure that they are always aware of legislation changes and what they need to do to remain legally compliant. Landlords who opt for the introduction only service will only need us to help find a tenant, carry out in depth referencing and produce a legally compliant tenancy agreement. They will have the time necessary to be available to look after their rental property and tenant, and will be organised and dedicated to keeping good accounting records so they are always aware of what rental payments should be expected to be received and when, and know what to do if rental payments are not received when they should be. This service is not intended for the new or inexperienced landlord, or for a landlord who has no desire to be very hands on with his rental property or has no desire to remain constantly up to date with all legislation changes. Very few landlords opt for this service.

TENANTS – Why the service the landlord has opted for is relevant to you

It is very important for tenants to know who their point of contact is for rental payments and for maintenance issues. As a tenant you need to know where you need to make your rental payments to. You also need to know who to contact and what to do if there are any property maintenance issues at your rental property.

If your landlord has instructed us on a fully managed or rent collection basis, we will have told you to pay your rent into our client account. This information is detailed within your tenancy agreement. You will also have access to an online accounting system, you can log in to this system at any time and see your rent account. You will know when your next rental payment is due and also be able to see all payments that you have made to us.

If your landlord has the introduction only service, you will need to pay your rent directly to your landlord. Best practice would be to set up a standing order to do this. You will then always have your own record of all payments made. If you do decide to pay your landlord cash, then always obtain a receipt for this. Interesting fact: Legally, only tenants who are required to pay rent weekly need to be given a rent book by their landlord.

For any property maintenance, only landlords who have the full management service have given us instructions to deal with any day-to-day property maintenance at your property. If your landlord has elected to have the rent collection or the introduction only services the you must contact your landlord for all property maintenance issues. When you move into your rental property, we will give you an information sheet which explains what service your landlord has with us, and more details about what to do if there are any maintenance issues at your rental property. Unless your landlord has the full management service, we strongly advise you to have a conversation with your landlord and find out what he wants and authorises you to in an emergency if you cannot get hold of him.

We will cover in more detail property maintenance / repairs and rental payments in future Blogs