For some landlords it can be difficult to determine whether your prospective tenants are of good character and reliable when it comes to rent payment. Checking references is the more obvious solution to this predicament but you need to trust that the person and the information they are giving you is honest. Not only this, but a tenants previous good behaviour is not a guarantee that it will continue. With many people finding it difficult to secure a long term job, the property market has seen an increase in the number of people looking to rent.
This is good news for landlords but at the same time, it increases the risk of receiving financially unreliable tenants. However with the right landlord insurance, they can be protected from any unexpected problems which are not their fault. But even with this protection, there are calls for a trustworthy system that can help identify good and bad tenants.
Experian’s Rental Exchange programme provides a system that can support both landlords and tenants. It allows landlords and letting agents to see information on a tenant’s rent repayment history, thus giving them a truthful representation of their ability to pay rent on time. This subsequently gives tenants a better chance of receiving mortgages and a good credit rating – if they are prompt payers. Having paid access to this database gives landlords and letting agents increased confidence in their decision to let a particular tenant rent their property.
A similar service is provided by the Landlord Referencing (LRS) website. This community has around 20,000 members preventing any bad tenants from taking advantage of unknowing landlords. A tenant’s name and value of their rent defaults and property damage costs, among other things, can be published.
How Reliable Are They?
While these systems provide a great warning, others see it as a ‘tenant blacklist’ which eliminates the chances of these tenants finding a new home. Some tenants even argue they could be at risk of slander but the founder of LRS, Paul Routledge, is adamant his system is reliable. “The site is data controlled and we vet the information we are given. The site is basically to make sure landlords turn down tenants who left their last property owing rent or having trashed the place. We don’t just add tenants because they’ve been a pain, because they got orange paint on the carpet or owe £30, for example. They have to be pretty bad.”
For some landlords who have a storied history of troublesome tenants, advanced and detailed referencing systems like this are a relief. However it is easy to become too reliant on outside information and ignoring your own better judgment which, before the internet and data revolution, served most landlords well.