Could a ‘referencing passport’ really work?
Calls have been made for a new way of producing references for tenants, using a so-called ‘referencing passport’ that would be transferable between letting agents in order to save tenants money.
The boss of easyProperty is now calling on the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) to back this initiative for ‘referencing passports’, as in England and Wales agents can still charge referencing fees if a tenant applies for a property listed with them. But if they want to go to another agent, even within a short period of time, they may have to pay again for a similar referencing check.
At the TR Group we find this statement extremely worrying. For a start, it doesn’t make sense! How can a tenant legally leave their current home and move to another agent when the majority of rental contracts these days are Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST). This means that landlords/agents are legally obliged to leave it at least 6 months after the original tenancy began before they can take back their property, as well as having to give a tenant at least 2 months’ written notice; ‘notice to quit’. Secondly, if the tenant is still in the fixed term the only way a landlord/agent can ask their tenant to leave is if they have a valid reason for wanting possession, e.g. tenant behind with rent payments, the tenant has used the property for illegal purposes.
So our questions are:
- Why would a tenant want to leave their home, when they’re in such short supply?
- Why would a good tenant need to go to another agent within a ‘short period of time’?
- How would their ‘referencing passport’ work to gain access to another property, if they had a negative landlord/agent reference?
This subject has always been a hot topic of debate in the private rented sector. At the TR Group we are always trying to work with landlords, agents and tenants for the best solution, so we’ve already investigated this initiative and would love to set it up. However, from our personal industry experience, the majority of Agents make a large proportion of their revenue from tenant referencing so the major risk here is that the tenant would pay for their ‘referencing passport’ and then other agents would refuse it because it didn’t match up to their own referencing protocols.
We already have a system in place that offers unparalleled protection to landlords and tenants, by highlighting how reliable a tenant has been in the past with regards to keeping up with their rental payments and caring for the property – as well as preventing tenants from forking out hundreds of pounds each time they seek to rent a property.
What are Tenant Histories?
A Tenant History Report is the data that has been gathered directly from our member Landlords and Letting Agents about their tenant and/or applicant tenant that they may have had apply for a rental property. Gathered by LandlordReferencing.co.uk exclusively over the last seven years, our Tenant History database now holds thousands upon thousands of real-time entries about the rental histories of both problem tenants and good tenants across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This method has been developed exclusively by us, meaning that no other company in the UK can offer such reports.
Working in real-time, the more Landlords & Agents that join and reference via our system the more Tenant Histories are created. Our members actually become part of that tenant’s reference in the future, so when another member searches for a tenant they will immediately show up as a match as a previous Landlord or Letting Agent. The main benefit of our unique service is that our member landlords and agents will never have to rely on what a tenant tells them to get a complete and proper reference.
Any rent default and/or property damages incurred can also be documented at LRS, which further protects all of our communities from the likes of anti-social behaviour, criminal activity, subletting, multiple applications, fraudulent applications, etc.
Our ever increasing circle of landlord and agent members are constantly updating their tenant uploads through the website in real-time. In this day and age of constant barrages of new legislation being heaped onto landlords and the industry as a whole, you cannot afford to be taken for a ride by just one bad tenant. Which is why, as home ownership hits a 30 year low, rent guarantee insurance popularity is steadily increasing.