This guide explains how to upload references to your HomeHak Tenant CV.
Headings in this article
- References - what are they?
- Challenges with the traditional process of providing references in the home renting process.
- HomeHak provides a new approach to providing references in the renting process.
- What about when I already have written references? How do I use these to promote my Tenant CV?
References - what are they?
References are considered by landlords and agents to be one of the most valuable criteria when deciding on the trustworthiness of a potential tenant. It is a testimonial from a person who has first-hand experience with the potential tenant. This is often regarded as the best predictor of how the applicant is likely to behave if they become a tenant of the landlord's property. References are usually requested from previous landlords, employers and other persons who can be expected to provide an honest assessment.
Challenges with the traditional process of providing references in the home renting process.
The usual process of renting a property involves the providing of references after the tenant has been selected and at the point of agreeing on the lease. At this point, the landlord or letting agent will call the referees to verify that the reference is authentic. There are weaknesses to the current approach:
- For the tenant:
- Providing good references at the end of the process doesn't help the tenant get selected during the application and selection process. It is unfortunate, that tenants don't get to show their strong references early in the application process in a way that helps them get selected. Strong references can really strengthen someone's application for a property. If the references are particularly detailed or supportive they could well encourage a landlord or agent to trust that person with their property, even if the application is weaker in other areas.
- Tenants source their written references at the time they are applying for a property. Then they often misplace the documents or lose contact with previous landlords. It can be challenging to source these references again when it is time to rent a new home.
- Tenants who do not have much, or any, prior renting history are at a disadvantage when only landlord and employer references are requested. This is the case for many people with impeccable credentials who are living in the family home because of a shortage of housing or while they are saving to buy a home.
- For the landlord or letting agent:
- Something that is regarded by many as the most valuable criteria when selecting a trustworthy tenant is not provided until most of the work is complete. There is a risk that it takes a long time to verify the references, during which time the landlord is forgoing rental income and the tenant is waiting for their accommodation.
- If references are found to be misleading or fake at the end of the selection process. other good candidates may have rented elsewhere. It may be necessary to advertise the property again.
- There are strict data protection rules about how applicants' application documents must be protected. It can be challenging to safely coordinate information provided by disparate reference providers, store it and then destroy it when the tenant vacates the property.
HomeHak provides a new approach to providing references in the renting process.
References are prioritised.
When a tenant creates their HomeHak Tenant CV, if references are collected through the platform, those references are presented as one of the first sections near the top of the document.
- The tenant CV shows the substance/narrative of each reference so it can promote the good character of the applicant upfront - when they are looking to stand out and be selected for the home they want.
- In addition to landlords and employers, tenants have the opportunity to source references from Working Professionals and friends who are willing to vouch for them. This feature is to help great tenants who do not have long rental histories or employment histories to supplement their tenant CVs with many character references.
- Working Professional referees could be persons with notable qualifications teachers, doctors, accountants, engineers, managers, supervisors, marketers, the list is endless.
- Under the friends tab, they could include references from work colleagues or even previous co-tenants who could vouch for their good behaviour as tenants.
- All Reference providers are registered on the HomeHak platform to increase the level of trustworthiness and credibility attributable to them. Reference providers who have had their ID Verified will have a badge displayed beside their reference.
- References can be stored on HomeHak for as long as the tenant is a member as per the T&C's.
There's a streamlined digital process to source references.
Landlord and employer references are collected at the same time as entering information about "Renting History" and "Employment history". For example, When it's time to enter your renting history, click "Renting History" and then click "Add a place".
Enter the details of your previous landlord. These details are not shown publicly. It is these details that the new landlord or agent will need when it is time to verify your reference. Storing them here means you will be able to share them safely with the click of a button when the time comes.
When you are ready, you can send your request for a reference from inside HomeHak through email or WhatsApp.
It is recommended that you contact your reference provider in advance to check they are willing to provide you with a good reference and to vouch for you when they are contacted. You should also let them know to receive the request from HomeHak.com.
When you send your request for a reference, the picture below shows an example of the message your reference provider will receive.
When they "click here" to provide their reference, they will be asked to type their comments into a secure popup screen. They will then be asked to join HomeHak as a "Reference provider". It's a simple process and "Reference providers" incur no cost. This process offers a number of advantages;
- Registering the "Reference provider" introduces a quick but effective level of security around the referencing process. This measure is meant to deter the use of "Fake references". This feature is attractive to landlords and agents who value speed and assurance when checking references.
- Reference providers can be assured that their personal details are protected and only accessible by users whose details are registered on the HomeHak platform.
- Reference providers have access to the platform and maintain control over their personal data.
What about when I already have written references? How do I use these to promote my Tenant CV?
The process of sourcing references for your digital Tenant CV has been laid out in detail in this article. Don't worry, moving step by step through the actual process on the platform is a seamless process for you and your reference providers. Plus, you can invite people to vouch for you besides landlords, agents and employers.
Maybe you already have great references in written format from previous landlords and employers? You will need to make sure prospective landlords and agents take notice of them when considering your application.
HomeHak caters for this and ensures the principle of helping tenants to promote great references upfront is made possible. Here's what to do:
Upload the written reference to the Documents Management section of your Tenant CV.
- To do this, enter the "Documents management" section and press the "Add new documents, photo or video" button.
- A popup window will appear. From the document types listed select "Paper or email References"
- Name your file and then upload the document from your hard drive or phone.
- Click to make your document "Public". This only makes public the fact that you have the reference document ready. It does not show the actual document. If someone wants to see your actual reference document, they must first click the "Request to view" button to get your permission to view the document.
Any viewers of your tenant CV will see that you have pre-loaded your "paper or email references" and that they are available on HomeHak.
- Any landlords or agents who are members of HomeHak and who wish to review your references or other documents can press the "Request to view" button. You can then decide whether to share the document with this member, or not. You will probably only share your documents with a member who has already offered you a property that you want to rent.
It is worth sharing here, that HomeHak overlays a number of security measures for the benefit of tenants who feel obliged to share documents as part of the renting process, but who want to protect their data at the same time. These are designed to address concerns expressed by tenants who are uncomfortable with the traditional renting process.
- All documents shared will be presented with a "HomeHak" icon and watermark discretely overlaid. This deters anyone from copying or attempting to reuse the document.
- Documents can be shared with specific persons by entering the reviewer's email address.
- When a document is viewed by a registered member of HomeHak, this is recorded for the document owner.
- A time limit can be put on access to documents. After this time limit, the document will not be accessible by anyone except you, the document owner.
Example Tenant CV with documents available to be viewed by a registered member. Availability of "Paper or email references" is clearly shown in the "Documents" section.
HomeHak is looking to modernise:
- the way references are sourced - so a tenant can show many people will vouch for them.
- how references can be used to show upfront the substance of the reference without compromising the personal data of the reference provider
- how references can be authenticated upfront before time is spent on viewings or chasing referees
- how personal data can be protected during the renting process and
- how references can be stored for future use
An important purpose of HomeHak is to help applicants for rental properties who have less renting history to offer on their tenant CV, but who are great prospective tenants. HomeHak enables these applicants to seamlessly source multiple references through the platform and thereby bolster their overall Tenant CV with what is considered the most valuable factor by many - references.
The platform also caters for members who want to demonstrate that they have written references ready to support their applications for a property.
Finally, all aspects of the referencing process on HomeHak is underpinned with layers of security designed to strengthen the trustworthiness of the members and the platform whilst protecting members data.