Landlord references: your questions answered

Landlords can be very difficult to get hold of, whether they’re an individual or an agent. Understanding the process helps speed it up, keeping both you, your landlord and the applicant happy.

These questions have all been asked by clients like you at some point, so it’s quite likely there’s at least one that you’ve been wanting to ask too.

Q: Do you chase referees by phone?

A: Yes, but first they will receive an email because it’s sent automatically as soon as the applicant supplies their address. Even if it’s 3:00am! Then we contact the referee every day for the first working week until we receive the information we need. The application is kept open for a further week (two weeks in total) to allow referees to respond. If we haven’t heard at the end of two weeks the application is closed.

Q: How long do you keep contact details for?

A: All contact details are kept for 15 months in line with our Privacy Policy. The policy is displayed on our website and all applicants are sent a link to it before completing their application. After this 15-month period the data is destroyed in line with the General Data Protection Regulations.

Q: Can you accept employment references given to the applicant to pass on to you?

A: No. We must obtain the reference directly from the employer in order to fully verify the source.

Q: If a new employer won’t provide a reference until the applicant starts their new job can you take a reference from the current employer?

A: No. The current employment contract is ending so its not relevant to the tenancy term being applied for. We must verify the income details of the applicant for the duration of the new tenancy term because this is the income that will be used to pay the rent.

In our experience, new employers will provide references in the form of offer letters, copies of contracts and confirmation of the agreed start date, role, term and salary. If there are no conditions, this is usually fine.

Q: Why won’t you take verbal references?

A: We prefer all of our references to be written references (email or fax). Verbal references do not provide an audit trail, written ones do. Written references are also a far more secure way of verifying the source.

Also, imagine a landlord requests a copy of references from you because there’s been an issue mid-way through the tenancy. Wouldn’t it be better to provide a detailed written reference than having to tell them you had a quick phone call?

Q: Why do employment references take so long?

A: Usually because the employer isn’t expecting them. In order for the application to be completed quickly, the applicant needs to inform the correct person of the process:

  1. First, they will receive an email from;
  2. Then then they will receive a phone call from a Keysafe team member every day for a week until the reference is given;
  3. After this, they have a further week to provide the reference before the application is closed.

Q: Why do employment references take so long?

A: We have followed the process above and haven’t been provided with the required information. We will re-open the application free of charge for up to 31 days from the date of submission. After 31 days we require a new application.

Have we missed any? Get in touch with the team at with your other questions, we’d be happy to answer them.

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