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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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, I am looking at renting a property and the letting agent

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Hi, I am looking at renting a property and the letting agent has asked to see my last 6 months bank statements. Is this disclosure warranted.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I ask if you are employed and if your salary (or joint salaries if renting together) covers the rent please? If it does how many times does your salary (or joint salaries) cover the rent roughly?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

self employed; and my accountant has already confirmed to the letting agent that my income is more than adequate for the rental. What irks me is the fact the agent appears to think such a request is reasonable, whilst I think it is an invasion of privacy and will not reveal any more than a normal credit check. I would like to go back to the agent and decline the request, but with good (legal) reason

Thank you. There are no absolute rules as to what is or is not allowed to be requested and even the ARLA lettings code of practice to which many agents subscribe does not proscribe what the agent may or may not ask for. Most agents are prepared to accept a summary of your business accounts certified by your accountant or confirmation from your chartered accountant that your income is a xx multiple of the rent and if requested income levels for previous years (though for rental properties normally one year is sufficient (even a mortgage lender only requires three years of accounts typically). A request for bank statements is unnecssarily intrusive because it invades on private spending and other personal spending which is not necessary for the agent to make an accurate determination of your net income and liablities. He can do so with proof of your income and a credit check. The problem is many agents have very few if any qualifications and therefore requests take many forms. There is no requirement that you disclose information you are not willing to to the agent and it will come down to the balance of the market in terms of how readily the property can be let to others as to whether the agent capitulates or not. The agent has a duty to his principal (the landlord) so should not turn down good tenants unjustifiably but that is the limit of his obligations. You may consider pointing out that personal bank statements are very personal and you are not prepared to provide them but that you are and have been prepared to prove your income through your chartered accountant and are willing to supply certified accounts summaries and that you are willing to allow a credit check so the agent can see any liabilities which allows the agent a comprehensive picture of your income and liabilities without the need for sight of your bank statements which is unnecessarily intrusive. If the agent refuses to bend then all that is left to do is either contact the landlord directly if you feel that way inclined - you can normally find his details by obtaining the title entries for the property from the Land Registry online for £3 or voting with your feet and using a different agent. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me.
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