What References do I Need to Rent a London Flat?

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What references will my landlord want?

Before you move into a new property, it’s almost certain that your landlord will want some form of reference to check that you’re who you say you are , and that you’re not going to move in and immediately stop paying rent.

If you’re prepared for this and  have your referees primed,  you’ll stand a better chance of moving into your desirable property sooner rather than never. Let’s take a look at what you’re likely to be asked for.

Proof of ID

This is basic but essential. Have a passport or driving licence, plus a utility bill or bank statement to prove your current address. Make copies that you can give to your landlord: it shows you’re organised and business-like – and will definitely help you stand out as a prospective great tenant!

Employers’ reference

This is the other essential. Your landlord will want to know that you can afford the rent (i.e. you’re being paid enough) and that you have a stable job that you’re not about to lose.

Do your homework. Know who in your organisation should be contacted, and tell them you’ll be needing a reference shortly. Or better still, ask them to write you an open reference confirming your employment status and salary. You can still expect your landlord to contact your employer to verify it, but it might save a day or two if you need to move in quickly.

Previous landlord

Your previous landlord can – I hope – confirm that you pay your rent on time and haven’t trashed the place. The problem here is likely to come if the reason that you’re moving is that your current landlord is a shark who never completes repairs, or they’re uncontactable. You might consider offering your last-but-one landlord as a referee (best to ask them first) instead – though of course you’ll need to explain to your new landlord why you’re doing this.

Financial checks

If your prospective landlord wants a bank reference, be prepared for some delays

banks take a long time to complete references, and are understandably vague

Have 6 months of bank statements handy if you need to prove your financial status.

Expect credit checks – if there are problems, admit them up front and explain them. It’s better to say “I had a business that went under; I’m sorting things out”, than hope no one notices a CCJ or three.


In some circumstances, landlords may prefer to have a guarantor rather than a reference. A guarantor is someone who signs to say that they will pay your rent if you don’t: often a parent if you’re in student accommodation, for example. I know some landlords of HMOs who say they will only deal with guarantors: they typically rent to people who have little employment or renting history, and to have someone with their own home stand surety is, they say, easier.

Whatever references your landlord asks for, be open with them if you can’t provide them. It’s much better to be honest and offer an alternative than have a friend pretend to be your boss. Most landlords have taken plenty of references in the past and will see through that in minutes – meaning you’ve lost the property you wanted.

James Davis - Upad

James Davis - Upad

A guest post by James Davis, the CEO of, the UK’s leading online lettings agent. Upad lists your rental property on 100+ sites and portals – including Rightmove – for just £59: tenant guaranteed. Follow the Upad blog and on Twitter for rental industry news and tips for landlords on making the most of your properties

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3 Responses to “What References do I Need to Rent a London Flat?”

  1. Snake says:

    What’s that? All that shit to get a home? that’s a request to rent a castle or the whole White House, not to rent a flat… Could be useful also my criminal record as well as my Dna to check it out by a scientific team to verify my ID? That’s crazy man..

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